Arguments could be made that the weakest position group for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles was safety. Philadelphia allowed a league worst 4,636 total passing yards and gave up the most passing yards per game (289.8). Teams were highly effective throwing the ball on the Eagles secondary throughout the year, and much of that is attributed to the shaky Philadelphia safety play.
Free agent safety Nate Allen was probably the most consistent player, but some argue he is not a great fit for the Eagles. The other starting safeties for parts of the season were Earl Wolff and Patrick Chung who both battled shoulder (Chung) and knee (Wolff) injuries throughout the year.
With Allen a free agent who the Eagles might want to re-sign, and some speculating that Chung could be cut, the safety position could use a huge upgrade in the draft, and Alabama’s Ha’Sean “Ha-Ha” Clinton-Dix is just the man to fit that need.
Clinton-Dix is ranked as the top safety in the 2014 NFL Draft, and for good reason. According to the Alabama web site, he finished fourth on the team in tackles in just 11 games with two interceptions and six pass breakups. The Crimson-Tide player was a consensus All-American and First-team All-SEC in 2013, and played in the BCS National Championship in 2012 and 2013. Clinton-Dix is no stranger to big games on the big stage.
Some of his best attributes are that Clinton-Dix is a ballhawking safety who is very instinctive and fluid in coverage, and he can match up well with opponents’ slot receivers. He also does a good job of reading the quarterback’s eyes and has good vision to break on the ball. At 6-foot-1, 208-pounds Ha-ha is not an enforcer by any means, but he is a reliable run stopper because he has great anticipation, wraps up upon contact, and tackles with excellent leverage. He also will catch interceptions and has plus open-field running abilities with the ball in his hand.
While some mock drafts are speculating that the Chicago Bears or Dallas Cowboys may grab Clinton-Dix before the Eagles are on the board at 22, I believe both teams have greater defensive needs and will look elsewhere. If Ha’Sean falls to Philadelphia, it would be a superb pick and he would make an immediate positive impact on the team.
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