Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article, Prediction

Todd McShay Has Steelers Taking Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix In Latest Mock Draft


Todd McShay of ESPN.com has now released his post combine mock draft of the first round of 2014 NFL Draft and after previously mocking Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III to the Steelers at 15th overall, this time around he has Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix tabbed for Pittsburgh.

McShay writes:

I really struggled with this one, too. I think Pittsburgh’s priorities should be to get younger on defense and upgrade the offensive line, but in this scenario there isn’t a tackle who really justifies a top-15 pick (although Zack Martin at least merits consideration). If they trade back, nose tackle Louis Nix III could be an option, but I have enough concerns about his 2013 performance that I don’t think he’d go off the board this early. So I think this pick comes down to the best available secondary player, and Clinton-Dix is a playmaker at the safety position with really good range.

This is of course not the first time we’ve seen Clinton-Dix mocked to the Steelers, but it appears as though he’s become the popular selection of many draftniks as a lot of them seem to be jumping off of the Nix bandwagon for now.

The Steelers re-signed veteran safety Will Allen on Wednesday, but there’s not a lot to read into that move as he is merely a safety net for the Steelers, so to speak. Allen’s re-signing, however, gives us yet another reason to think that veteran safety Ryan Clark will not be back in 2014, so that leaves the Steelers with Troy Polamalu, Shamarko Thomas and Allen as the safeties currently under contract with any substantial playing time experience. In the case of Thomas, however, that’s not all that much.

Clinton-Dix, if drafted, would likely take the roster spot of either Allen or Robert Golden, so he has to be considered a serious candidate as being the Steelers ultimate pick.

Let’s discuss once again what you like and dislike about the Alabama safety.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    Man there are a lot of mocks that have us taking Clinton-Dix.. I don’t really see it happening, although I wouldn’t be upset with the pick. Our secondary is in transition and we need to add more playmakers

  • Brandon James

    There are 4 players I am looking at with this pick and honestly it has to be one of them. Not all 4 will be available, but they will be picked somewhere 10-20 so here is the top 4….Ill put them in my particular order.

    1. Justin Gilbert
    2. C.J Mosley
    3. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
    4. Mike Evans

    Keep Pryor and Dennard away from the mocks, they don’t fit our scheme. With Shamarko being a better replacement for Troy, Haha could fit right in and we could have our next era of safetys, but any of those 4 at that pick will make our team a whole lot better and all 4 should be Day 1 starters.

  • harding36

    The more mocks I see, the more I’m convinced that there really isn’t a good reason for the Steelers not to trade back. Even if the compensation isn’t great (say, a 4th or 5th rounder to move back 5 or 6 spots), I think we should do it. There are needs all over the defense at C, S, ILB, NT, and maybe even DE, and no one who’s going to be available at 15 jumps out to me at all. If Gilbert is available at 15, I’d take him. Otherwise, move back to 20 or so and take the BPA between Dix, Pryor, Dennard, Mosley, Fuller and Nix. All of those guys have similar grades it seems to me. In other words, I’d rather have Fuller and a 4th rounder than Dix.

  • SumnerYoung

    I don’t think HaHa is the next Ed Reed, but I do think he’ll be a multiple pro-bowler. He’s got very good speed for a safety (his playing speed is better than his combine track speed). He’s got good hands, a lot of range, and he hits hard. He has an NFL body, was a highly touted high school recruit out of Florida (a breeding ground for the NFL), and played collegiately for a big time program that played in big time games. At Alabama, he played for one of the best defensive coaching staffs in the nation. And most importantly, he’s got a cool nickname. He’s worthy of pick 15.

  • JZ

    Totally agree with Brandon. Except different order.
    1. Gilbert ( die if we got him)
    2.Evans.
    3. Dix
    4. Mosley

  • moderatelysane

    I have to disagree. I think if you watch multiple games of Calvin Pryor, you see a player that is very special, in that rare category of Kevin Colbert’s “special players.” Watch how many plays he’s involved in and how much he alters the outcome of plays. He can be overagressive at times, but that’s because he’s a college player. A little Lake will work that out of him. I see alot of Troy in Calvin Pryor’s tape. He can cover a lot of ground lightning fast and blow up running plays in a hurry like Troy has for years. That alters the outcome of drives and games. He can also get back and cover, although perhaps not quite as well as HaHa. In the end, I’m betting that we will hear a post-rnd 1 presser with Colbert talking about Pryor as a “special player” and difference maker. Others in that category that have a remote change of being around at 1.15 are Gilbert (not Dennard), Evans, Mack, Mosley. I don’t see a perennial probowler in Dix. Now I know the arguments about already having Shark, but we’ve seen that if there’s a special player, we can adapt. This is one of those cases. Shark and Pryor would be a great duo.

    I’d love to see Pryor at 1.15 and Jordan Matthews at 2.15 (if we get lucky).

    Now let the hatin begin.

  • treeher

    Three concerns: (1) Team suspended him “indefinitely” last October for some sort of team rules violation and reinstated him after 2 games. That’s not insignificant for a team chasing the national championship. (2) He had a torn meniscus and that was repaired in December. (3) He’s leaving a year early and so might have developmental/maturity issues. Is this enough to push him down in the draft? Pundits don’t seem to think so.

  • Brandon James

    Shark and Pryor would not be a good fit at all. Pryor is not a ball hawk safety, and shark is too small to be asked to do so much covering, and he is amazing in run support. I just don’t see it

    P.S Not hating, just sounds like your forcing in a player that you liked. Same could be said for someone like Aaron Donald.

  • steeltown

    I mostly agree.. though I’d add Pryor to the discussion

  • Brandon James

    I just don’t see where he fits within the scheme.

  • steeltown

    Good size and speed, he’s a fierce tackler and has god zone recognition, he can play in the box or roam the backend. I would assume Pryor, like Thomas will be taught both Safety positions just like Troy, Clark and W.Allen were before him, so I don’t see the problem with scheme.. your thoughts?

  • steeltown

    I see your point, Clinton-Dix has more length and could potentially be more of a ball-hawk

  • Brandon James

    I guess with the 15th pick of this draft I would want an instant day 1 game changer. With Sharks skill set, I’m not saying Pryor doesn’t warrant a R1 pick, but with our holes he wouldn’t be a good compliment to shark. Would you agree both Pryor and Shark are best in Troys spot? That is where I get stumped on him.

  • Brendan

    Sorry if I’m missing something obvious, but why exactly does Dennard not fit the scheme? He’s an athletic , physical corner who loves to hit and was the best DB in college football last year. From what I’ve seen he’s a better tackler than Gilbert. Explain this to me.

  • Matt Manzo

    No hating here!!! Pryor at 1 and Matthews at 2 would be awesome!!!!

  • Brandon James

    The combine actually pointed out what we all were wondering about Dennard. He is not ideally a zone corner. There is a lot of instincts involved in Zone play, and he doesn’t have the fluid hips and he is just ideal in press coverage off the line stick to your man schemes.

  • steeltown

    I was unsure of where Shark would go, first thinking he was Troys replacement then thinking the later, I would think if Pryor was selected that Shark would then eventually take over for Troy and Pryor would assume the Clark role, but again they would be interchangeable

    I see you point though about Clinton-Dix and the potential to be a ballhawk in the right system

  • Matt Manzo

    Who’s better in coverage? Pryor or Dix? I think Dix is more of a pure FS and Pryor more of a SS. This year I think we need to focus on coverage skills, with all the new faces we’ll have in the secondary, guys back there gotta know what they’re doing! I want someone that can cover the big TEs. And force a fumble!
    I also think free agency will change everything. We have a shot at someone like TJ Ward. Some say even JByrd?! If we go that route we’ll see Safety takin in the 3rd or 4th. And I like the Buchannons, Whitleys and even Exum!

  • SumnerYoung

    There is a definite need at DE right now, and DL altogether. The only D-lineman under contract right now with proven experience are Heyward and McClendon. Fangupo, Nick Williams and Arnfelt are the next wave and I don’t think they really strike much fear in opposing offenses. I’d like to see a NT and DE drafted this year. And I agree with your points about moving back.

  • steeltown

    He didn’t play much zone in college

  • j m

    Hasn’t Ziggy convinced us of the folly of drafting a 3-4 DE in the first round?

  • j m

    I still think either Mike Evans, Justin Gilbert, or CJ Mosely will be availabe at 15.
    If they are not, I would pass on Ha-Ha and trade back.

  • Brendan

    Got it. I’ve seen one of the biggest knocks in Gilbert was his tendency to miss tackles in space, which i know the Steelers won’t like. I’m hoping for one of the Bama defenders.

  • SumnerYoung

    I never said anything about the first round. In fact, I’d prefer a mid round NT and a later round DE. I wouldn’t cry though if Tuitt or Hageman were drafted in round 2.

  • Axe Skot

    The only thing I disagree with is the nickname.

  • Caesar

    I’d add Dennard and Ebron. And would move Mosley below all of them. Just don’t see him having the sort of impact they need.

  • steeltown

    …Cam Heyward

  • srdan

    To me drafting players should be about giving you the biggest advantage that you don’t have right now. We lost a lot of games due to not finishing drives. If we scored another 5-6 TDs last year, the season would have been different. 5-6TDs for a team that sucks in teh redzone is a mountain, that could be helped by a big target. This leads me to believe that Evans or Ebron would affect teh bottom line the quickest for this team. Always a good thing.

    Drafting a safety, or a linebacker will not have the same impact as a red zone receiver. What I am saying is if Haha is there and evans and ebron are gone, I would be ok with the pick, but kinda bummed that we didn’t get a boost in the redzone. I think i would prefer Dannard over haha since I like players with attitude and swagger, but haha might end up being the better pro.

  • Alan Felicia

    Byrd is ball hawk but gonna cost alot! Doubt Colbert will even kick tires. Ward and Whitner are more SS hitters than ball hawks. Stevie Brown from the Giants is a good ball hawk but is coming off ACL injury. Malcolm Jenkins is a possibility.

  • John A Stewart

    Mike Mayock on the NFL network is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than those misfits on ESPN.

  • steeltown

    One would think Clinton-Dix will be better in coverage long term, but their college numbers in regards to INTs and PDs are quite comparable. Where the shift is with tackles and forced fumbles Pryor was far busier in that department, but that said its hard to gauge them at the next level.

  • 243546

    Pryor looks like he will be a good player, but I don’t see anything that says he’s a better prospect than Shamarko Thomas. Thomas only cost the team a third round pick.

  • 243546

    Exactly this.

  • j m

    Casey is an NG, not a DE. (Although Sumner does state he’d prefer either a DE or an NG.)
    I’ve got no problem drafting an NG high if he is worthy. From what I hear, Nix is not #15-worthy.

  • 243546

    Are Earl Thomas, Devin McCourty and Jairius Byrd to small to play in coverage?

  • Nolrog

    Wouldn’t Cam Heyward convince you of the exact opposite though?

  • Nolrog

    Thank goodness that’s only a nickname. I was hoping there weren’t parents out there that would do that to their kid.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Don’t see it happening at all. All because of one simple principle: Haha won’t be the BPA at a need position.

    arguably, we can sign a FA at same position with better performance not just for this year but next too. Draft a Chris Hope in mold later in draft and develop him better than a 1st round safety who will likely match the contribution from a prospect that’s drafted later.

    Yes we need talents on the defense but with the direction Kevin Colbert is going right now I only can see sudden upgrades being made via free agency. That’s what 2nd day draft are for, especially in this talent-loaded draft.

  • James Kling

    My point exactly. Shark has played in packages as a CB, and played some CB at Syracuse, Earl Thomas is all of an inch taller than Shark, but people forget our boy has a 40″ vertical (32″ for Thomas), so when you talk about a guy’s playing height, you have to factor. Not only that, Shark ran faster than Thomas. Not saying he’s all-around as good, but I wouldn’t exclude Shamarko from the conversation at FS, SS, or even spot duty in the slot.

  • Matt Manzo

    I liked MJenkins coming out of college! I’d like to kick his tires!

  • Justin Barlow

    Clinton Dix would find the field pretty quickly in the sub packages if you ask me.

    Let’s also not forget that we’re 99% likely to be down a man at CB or S at some point in the season, in which case, we would reeeally want someone other than Will Allen or Robert Golden to be out there in the nickel (which is effectively base package these days).

    I prefer HHCD to Mosely only because drafting Mosely means we are callling it quits on Sean Spence and Vince Williams. I just think that Williams has shown enough to be the guy for us in base package and we could potentially have Jarvis Jones or Spence platoon with him as the ILB in the sub packages. In that case Mosely really makes us a little fat at the position.

    However, some may feel like Vince is a career backup and Spence will never come back. To me I just cant see us investing a 1st rounder at that position until we know for sure that we cant rely on Spence.

    Its all moot if Gilbert falls. Personally if he’s not there, there really isnt anyone special that I anticipate being on the board. I would prefer a trade down. Gilbert and Watkins, and maybe Evans are the only guys out there I would label as special players at need positions. After that there are dozens of solid guys I’d love to have but no difference makers that we NEED to have.

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    Its kinda funny. I do not watch college football and care nothing about the players except showing some vague interest for players the Steelers might be interested in when it is near draft time.
    So every time I have heard the Daves on the pod cast refer to HA HA Clinton Diks(Dix) I thought the HA HA part was them assuming people would make fun of the name Clinton Dicks and had no idea that they were only using his name/nickname.
    The funniest part was that I was confused and thought this player was from Arkansas as well…

  • Brandon James

    It’s not even his size, his skill set is hard-hitting run stopper. Size is just a factor.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I am with 100% agreement with you here…I just did a mock of 3 guys I think will have a chance of drafting in each round and you have the 3 guys in your list

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It makes sense and it is clear we need a safety drafted early. I do not think Dix will be a great player but he fills a need.

  • James Kling

    I think he can do both. IMO, we’re going to see him at FS this season.

  • Brendon Glad

    As long as they stay in the first round, I’m o.k. with that. But Colbert’s record on first round picks/vs. 2nd-3rd round picks has a difference that is far beyond what seems “natural”, to me. Of course, the first rounders should be better…but he tends to lean toward “potential Steelers HOF’ers” in the first. Has more pro-bowls from undrafted FA’s than he does 2nd-3rd rounders. So just make sure he has a first rounder to play with….that’s my suggestion. But 20-32 is no problem to “nail-it” for Colbert. If I were guessing, I think we are going to go “Nix”. Not “Dix”. Letting Hood go, and testing mcClendon at DE. But that is REALLY a “gut-guess”. If Gilbert is there, (which he won’t be)…then it’s him.

  • Johnny Loose

    We REALLY just need Gilbert to fall. I’d rather see Pittsburgh sign a guy like Malcolm Jenkins, thus letting them grab more than one corner in the draft. If that were the case, and Gilbert was taken, I’d be perfectly fine with them taking a guy like Mosley or one of the Bigger receivers, including Ebron.

  • Brendon Glad

    How does a fan tell? 3-4 DE is beyond my comprehension, as of now. I literally only go with how the game “feels”, and what the media tells me (often through the coaches). As in, I was told Aaron Smith was one of the greatest 3-4 Defensive Ends in NFL history. And the team results suggested Dick LeBeau probably was correct in saying that But apparently Ray Seals wasn’t even good enough for another contract back in 1994. So I’m not arguing with you Nolrog, but 3-4 DE is something that I struggle with. And I think the “above-average” fan even struggles with it. As in, I’ve seen a 3-4 DE be Bruce Smith. Or George martin (NYG) And I’ve seen them be Aaron Smith (different style, same team success and coaching compliments) And then we have Brett Kiesel vs. Ziggy vs. Heyward. It gets confusing. Especially when you throw NT Hampton into/out of/ the mix…no? If you know an easy way to analyze them, I’d love to know. I have a DVR now. That should help.

  • shawn

    Dont like it at all … much rather have Buchannon in the 2nd or 3rd … he’s much better and we would still be able to keep our 1st round pick !

  • shawn

    Pryor is no where near a 1st round talent

  • shawn

    Only 2 guys I would like to see drafted (realistically within our reach) in the 1st if we dont trade back (hoping we do) is ..

    1. Ebron
    2. Gilbert

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s why I started paying attention to draft sights during the season!

  • Matt Manzo

    I completely agree!!! This draft will be dictated by Gilbert. If he’s there he’s ours, if not, all sorts of possibilities are there! It’s gonna be a fun one. I’m actually excited because I think it’s the first time that we’ve had this many options! The depth this year is on our side, finally!
    I also think that releasing Foote is somewhat telling that there’s hope for Spence. I do think that a Telvin Smith LB Florida State can be a taller Spence, maybe even safety too!

  • shawn

    Alabama has had a lot of players that aren’t living up to their potential lately … i wouldn’t necessarily put that in the Pro’s column when ticking off his positives … like him (not at 15 though) but like Buchannon in the 2nd or 3rnd a lot better !

    nicknames are underrated !!!

  • Milliken Steeler

    Id love Gilbert too Johnny but, I can understand that this is a cb and not safety deep draft. For example after Dix or Pryor, I start getting a little worried as the pickins becomes slim at safety quickly.

    If we added a top safety in the first we can still snag someone like Desir or Baptiste at corner. Maybe double dip and steal Colvin in the seventh and he should be fully recovered by 2015 and add another top notch corner to the mix.

  • shawn

    we should at least get a 3rd for trading back … but I get ur point at even a 4th is better than nothing … actually for somebody like Fuller if they were really shrewd … they could trade back twice ( could u imagine two 3rd rounders or an xtra 3rd & 4th)

  • shawn

    ya i noticed that … but why is that so … Buchannon seems like a good mix of everything no ?

  • shawn

    i like your analysis … i too think RZ is our BIGGEST NEED … right ahead of our Secondary need …which won’t help much unless we get a bunch of them right away … we need 3 Quality DBs ASAP … 2 CBs and a FS to go along with Shamarko & Cortez… that would give us the biggest advantage and boost than any other picks

    mix/match

    1. Ebron/Gilbert
    2. Buchannon/Matthews
    3. SJB
    4. Gaines/Skov
    5a.
    5b. Dri Archer/DAT
    6. Colvin/Tre Boston
    7. Dowling

    there are playmakers up and down the draft as seen above … it would easily be possible to get our DBs TE and WR and a couple role players/KR as well … the draft looks promising

    I really dont see how they could Mess this one up … they would really have to work hard at it !

  • Will Hammer

    if Gilbert isn’t there at 15 trade down .

  • dkoy85

    If they traded back even once and got Fuller I’d… I’d… I don’t know what the eff I would do! I feel like behind Gilbert there isn’t another corner who fits the Steelers like Fuller does. The kid always seems to be turning his head around which I haven’t seen our CBs do in a while. I think the FO feels good with Williams so no Mosely. I am a firm believer they will sign a FS through FA so no Dix and I don’t think Evans will be on the board. Trade back, add a 3rd rounder to get another CB and pick up Fuller.

  • shawn

    Why CBs dont turn their head … I will never figure out .. if i was a DB coach … it would be absolutely mandatory or they would be sitting the pine … its not that difficult once you get the technique down …

    but i notice that if CB’s dont do it in the beginning of their careers they are never likely to do it … I think Secondary Coaching is the most neglected position all the way from HS to the Pros … !

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I agree with your four and ill add ebron although i really want gilbert in the first if these players get taken before our pick i hope we can trade back oh forgotmack too. but no matter we are sitting good at 15 with options

  • Steve

    When have the Steelers traded back? This is not to you personally just to the thought that it never happens, so why bring it up?

  • steelster

    I agree shawn, or we could trade up to the 11th pick if ebron or gilbert get past the bills and lions but I would hate to give up a pick in this draft.

  • steelster

    the steelers always draft a lb.

  • steeltown

    Well he’s projected as a 1st Rd talent, he’s probably the best hitting/tackling Safety in this class. He wont make it past Green Bay at 21, if he isn’t selected earlier

  • shawn

    ya i got ILB … Skov penciled in at 4 .. and possibly a late round OLB as well … my point is i think we can address most of our issues this year both offense and defense and target DBs heavy … will be easier if we trade back and pick up another pick

  • shawn

    he very well may go in the 1st round … just saying i see him more of a 2nd round guy … so u think he won’t last past 21 huh ? For that i would rather pick Buchannon in the 2nd or 3rd no ??

  • ATL96STEELER

    Finish the sentence…trade down and target who?

  • WIINGY

    Pryor looks a lot better than Dix from what I’ve seen.

  • WIINGY

    The Steelers don’t just play zone coverage. They drafted Hawthorne last year because they liked his man skills. I say the more you can mix up your coverages the better.

  • John Hinton

    I can’t argue with this at all.

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