Although the Baltimore Ravens seem poised to take a talented offensive tackle with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Alabama Crimson Tide safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be an excellent option for the Ravens if he’s available. While I think Clinton-Dix will be a top 15 pick due to his talent, the importance of the safety position, and his Alabama pedigree, it isn’t impossible at all for him to slip past the St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, and Dallas Cowboys and into Ozzie Newsome’s waiting hands at No. 17.
The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson reports that the Ravens recently conducted a pre-draft visit with the former Alabama safety, and their interest in Clinton-Dix isn’t surprising at all. Visits obviously don’t mean that a team will draft a prospect and could be a smokescreen, but they are important tools that can indicate if a team is interested in a prospect or even a specific positions.
Of course, the Ravens interest in adding a starting safety- or their interest in Clinton-Dix, for that matter- isn’t surprising at all. The Ravens took another former SEC star safety in the first round of last year’s draft in Matt Elam, and he is a promising player who showed flashes last season despite playing out of position at free safety with James Ihedigbo locked in at SS. Ihedigbo left with former defensive backs coach Teryl Austin to the Detroit Lions, and their decision to sign Ihedigbo most likely took them out of the safety market. That’s one less suitor for Clinton-Dix, and one more opportunity for him to slide to the Ravens. Zack Martin looks like the most likely pick, but Clinton-Dix is a strong possibility if he’s available and would form a talented duo of young, hard-hitting, instinctive safeties with Elam.