Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (5)
A player whom many project as the St. Louis Rams’ No. 2 pick is someone who remains on my board at No. 13: Greg Robinson. His pass-protection skills are far too unpolished to consider him at No. 2 (not to mention why take a project OT over Jadeveon Clowney or Sammy Watkins)? Although the Rams could use a versatile tackle-guard player, Jeff Fisher’s Titans teams always found post first-round offensive linemen whom they polished up into quality NFL starters. It just doesn’t appear like the best bang-for-the-buck pick.
In an NFC West division featuring three stout defenses and with a head coach who has earned his reputation from overseeing some of the NFL’s elite defenses while at Tennessee, adding Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix with T.J. McDonald would help St. Louis keep pace in those defensive struggles. Letting Gregg Williams coach that Rams’ front four (maybe with Clowney) plus a revamped secondary would make them an elite unit. Calvin Pryor is a bit too much like McDonald; Rams would benefit from Clinton-Dix’s contrasting skill-set.
Another possibility: Texas A&M WR Mike Evans. There are a few reasons I’d have them taking DB over WR, however, Evans would provide the perfect complementary piece to Tavon Austin.
Originally, I would have had the Rams taking Mike Evans with this pick, but with their recent signing of Kenny Britt, I see this being less of the case. My reasoning is that Jeff Fisher took Kenny Britt a few years ago in the first round and I think he believes he can live up to his potential in St. Louis. With Britt filling that need at wide receiver, the Rams add Clinton-Dix to add some strength to a reeling secondary. Dix can come up and sure up a secondary that recently lost Cortland Finnegan. They desperately need a strong presence at safety. Clinton-Dix can bring that and some toughness to a Rams defense that looked undermanned last year.
The Rams are desperate for help in the defensive backfield, namely at safety. Clinton-Dix just has the look of a Jeff Fisher player. He may not have the eye-popping stats, but if you watch his fluidity on the field, you see a prospect who is poised for game-day stardom.
He has a skill set that is very valuable in the NFL – the ability to cover a lot of ground and to stack up against big wide receivers. He’s the classic center fielder, and will instantly improve the Rams secondary.
St. Louis‘s decision here could change depending on what they do with the No. 2 selection. I have them going with an offensive tackle with their top pick. The Rams could be looking at the wide receiver position here at No. 13, but safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would fill a need in the back end of that defense. Clinton-Dix is regarded as possibly the top coverage safety in this draft class. Plug him next to second-year pro T.J. McDonald and you’ve got a young, rangy safety group.
I think the need for a physical specimen at the wide receiver position is a bigger need than safety for the Rams with this pick, but with Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins off the board I think they would be foolish to pass up on a talent like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Dix is a ball-hawk who has incredible play recognition. This pick like the second pick for the Rams is subject to change. It would not surprise me if the Rams traded down to wait for a receiver they think could play on the outside. If they believe Marqise Lee or Odell Beckham Jr. can do that for them, then the Rams should take a shot on one of those guys.