The SideLion Report Detroit Lions NFL Draft Prospect Profile series gives an in-depth scouting analysis of college football players who could be on the Lions’ radar this spring.
With the free agent acquisition of wide receiver Golden Tate, it’s likely the Lions will go in a different direction with their first round pick. The departure of Louis Delmas to Miami leaves the franchise in need of a starting safety, and while Mayhew has never been one to solely factor in need when drafting, it’s likely the Lions will use at least one of their selections to shore up the position. Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is projected by many to be the first or second safety taken off the board.
After viewing four games (Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn, Oklahoma), I gave Clinton-Dix a 7.0 grade (late first round). Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Safety – Alabama
Height: 6013 Weight: 208 40 Time: 4.58
NFL Comparison: Malcom Jenkins
Nice height and adequate bulk for the position with excellent overall athletic attributes. Has the fluidity and balance to cover WRs and TEs from zone or man. Rangy with the speed to handle middle of the field responsibilities. Adequate ball skills. Flashes effective run support skills – runs the alley hard, takes sound angles and is a reliable tackler.
Is lean and needs to get stronger. Drag down tackler who lacks striking power. Effort is very inconsistent – is hesitant attacking the LOS in run support or when breaking from the hash. Lacks killer instinct desired for the position. Doesn’t always finish – can be a pile inspector versus the run. Play-making skills are just adequate. Has character issues that need examining.
A former five- star recruit and the number one ranked safety in the nation (Scouts and Rivals) coming out of high school, Clinton-Dix has not played up to his lofty status. While he certainly possesses the desired size and athletic ability for the position, his on field production is not commensurate with his measurables. When he wants to, he flashes the closing speed and ability as a tackler to be a strong run defender. However he is often too content to pull up and let his teammates finish the play. The same holds true in the passing game – Clinton-Dix certainly has the speed and flexibility to be effective from both zone or man coverage, but is often late providing help over the top. Overall, Clinton-Dix has starting caliber size and athletic ability, but his lack of effort leaves a lot of plays he should make on the field. Late first round caliber athlete whose questionable intangibles make him a risky choice.
With all the money the Lions have invested in the wide receiver position, one has to think the focus will turn to other glaring needs on the roster. The starting free safety position is arguably the biggest hole left to fill. However, pending a trade down into the bottom of the first round, Clinton-Dix’s overall grade does not warrant being the answer at the top of the first round.