The numbers speak for themselves – the Dallas Cowboys put out one of the worst defenses in the league last year. If you think about Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme, many understand that it is a Tampa-2 style of defense. Jerry Jones wanted to rebuild the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that won a Super Bowl with Kiffin at the helm. Where the defense consistently broke down was in the backend.
Dallas has been hungry for a legitimate safety since the Darren Woodson days. We have been teased with early bloomers like Roy Williams and Barry Church, but Cowboys fans such as myself kept hoping they would become players they couldn’t be. Safety and Defensive Line are two positions that definitely should be on top of the Cowboys needs for the 2014 NFL Draft. I have studied 9 safeties so far in this year’s draft to help give my fellow Cowboys fans an idea of what players would be a good fit for our team.
I’m going start with the consensus (not myself included) #1 Safety to most scouts and draft fans.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S Alabama 6-1 208lbs Age:20
Strengths: HHCD is in my opinion the most talented safety prospect in this class. Let me highlight what he excels at.
- Coverage: HHCD has very fluid hips for a guy who is over 200 pounds. A couple of clips that stood out on tape to me were HHCD sitting in the middle of the field and instantly turning his hips and running with a deep post. When he is playing man-free coverage his ability to run downhill and close on QB check downs to the RB is from about 15-18 yards deep.
- Range: HHCD is a sideline-to-sideline safety. He plays deep-middle often and still shows the ability to chase down bubble screens, toss plays, and anything that is trying to get to the edge. He does a great job flying to the ball.
- Tackling: He is a consistent tackler with good form and technique bringing guys down. When he is running full speed he maintains good technique and hits them in a way they have no chance to shake loose.
Weaknesses: Though HHCD has shown the talent, he still has some parts of his game that are somewhat concerning.
- Getting of Blocks: HHCD does not do well when asked to get off blocks, especially on runs, where he is very soft in trying to get to the play. Instead of trying to get in the play he ends up accepting being blocked and watching.
- Consistency: HHCD has times throughout games where he is not playing to his potential. He seems to take plays off here and there. A couple of his worst games of the year, vs Auburn and Miss State, this type of effort showed up on the film.
A lot of mock drafts out there today have the Cowboys taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. I believe he would be a good fit for us. The defense we use needs sideline-to-sideline safeties.
I would be very happy if we took him as our 1st pick. In this draft I have him and Calvin Pryor graded above the rest. HHCD, in my opinion, should go in the 14-22 range in the draft. He is not an elite safety prospect but he has the potential to hold down a starting safety spot for an NFL team for years to come.