Although Jimmie Ward and Calvin Pryor are gaining ground and have been ranked as the top safety by some draft analysts, Alabama Crimson Tide product Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is still generally regarded as the top safety in the 2014 NFL Draft class. Like Pryor and Ward, Clinton-Dix has the ability to play in a free or strong safety role interchangeably due to his speed, instincts, ball skills, and physicality. A marquee player at a marquee school during his time at Bama, Clinton-Dix will likely be selected in the top half of the first round, and the St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, and Dallas Cowboys are three prime suitors for his services.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Clinton-Dix is set to meet with one of those teams at some point this week, as he reports that the Bears will have him in for a visit. They added M.D. Jennings and Ryan Mundy at safety while holding onto Chris Conte, who has bounce-back potential despite coming off of both an injury and awful 2013 season, but they still need more help in the secondary. Safety still looks like a problem spot on paper, and it’s a bigger need than corner. After all, the Bears did re-sign Charles Tillman to fill that need short-term, and it’s not like they can put their eggs in the baskets of Jennings, Conte, and Mundy at safety.
The Bears need playmakers on defense, and Clinton-Dix would be a playmaker. He might not be their best pick in the first round, but he at least has to be in strong consideration for Phil Emery at 14. Other teams that have worked out Clinton-Dix include the Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans.