Overview: The Kansas City Chiefs have a clear need for a back-end defender. Incumbent Free Safety starter Kendrick Lewis is a free agent and not expected to return. Lewis’ awful performance in the second half of the 2013 season was a big reason for team’s 2-5 finish after a 9-0 start.
The bottom line is the 2014 Chiefs need a vast improvement at free safety. In Kansas City defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense, which often uses a single high safety, a good free safety is a must. Lewis did not cut the mustard in 2013, and backups Quintin Demps and Husain Abdullah appear to be no more than backups.
Which brings us to what might be the best solution available in the 2014 draft: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is athletic, rangy, and has played 3 seasons in Nick Saban’s suffocating Alabama defense. The 6’1″ 208lb. Dix appears ready for a NFL starting job. He’s a particularly good fit for the Kansas City Chiefs because of his range. NFL Scout Chris Landry compared Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to fellow top prospect Calvin Pryor for The Bleacher Report:
“I think Clinton-Dix is a little more rangy in coverage and Pryor is a little more physical coming down the hill in defending the run. They both can play free (safety), but I think Clinton-Dix has a little bit more range. It’s really what you are looking for. Pryor does a good job of playing deep, but coming down hill a little bit better than Clinton-Dix defending the run. Both can latch-on to cover or slide-cover the tight end. They can stay on the field in the nickel. Both are very good. I expect them to go high (in the 2014 NFL draft), but I think Clinton-Dix’s range is a little bit better.”
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s draft profile on CBSSports.com credits Dix with having good ball skills and “explosive” closing ability. However, they also note that Dix is so aggressive that he can be fooled by play-action. Overall, they compare the Alabama product to Seattle Seahawks star Earl Thomas—the guy that shut down the deep zones against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 Super Bowl.
40 Yd Dash: 4.58
Vertical: 33 in
Broad: 9′ 9″
Bench: 11 reps
Draft Projection: He’s likely to go in the 1st round since most teams have evaluated him as either the best or 2nd-best free safety prospect in the draft. The only question is whether he will be available to the Chiefs at no. 23, with safety-needy teams like Detroit and Chicago ahead of Kansas City. If Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is available, Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey needs to take him.