2014 NFL Mock Draft: The Tennessee Titans Select…Defensive Back?
Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix (6) catches an interception against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second quarter of the 2012 SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Every 2014 NFL mock draft specialist has an opinion on what the Tennessee Titans need to improve their roster. In the first three mock drafts that Titan Sized evaluated, we’ve seen a quarterback, outside pass-rush specialist and an offensive tackle.
Next up: NFL Mocks writer Erik Lambert. Here’s a look at his entire first-round 2014 NFL mock draft. Below was his choice for the Titans’ No. 10 pick:
"#10 – Tennessee Titans – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – AlabamaA torn ACL really hurt the draft stock of free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but rest assured it will begin to recover during the pre-draft workouts. He is the best safety by far in the 2014 class and the Tennessee Titans need one to protect the back end of their defense."
WalterFootball.com has Clinton-Dix as the No. 1 safety on their draft board. Most people do. Here was their evaluation of him heading into the 2013-14 college football season:
"Clinton-Dix had a breakout season in 2012 as a platoon player following Mark Barron’s departure for the NFL. Clinton-Dix totaled 37 tackles with five interceptions, four passes broken up and a forced fumble. Clinton-Dix is very good in pass coverage as a deep defender and roving free safety. He covers a lot of ground, defends big receivers and has ball skills. The junior is expected to be the difference-maker in the Alabama secondary this year now that Robert Lester has moved on to the NFL, too. The Crimson Tide has produced a lot of good defensive backs, and Clinton-Dix looks like the next star to come out of Alabama’s secondary with his combination of size and speed. The Orlando, Florida product was top recruit coming out of high school."
Of all the picks that we’ve seen for Tennessee (Brett Hundley, Vic Beasley and Greg Robinson), Clinton-Dix appears like the safest bet. The biggest question is whether there’s enough of a need at safety for management to consider him. That question won’t get answered until closer to draft day.
The Titans have three quality safeties. Michael Griffin isn’t going anywhere as he received his long-term extension in 2012. Bernard Pollard‘s long-term status may depend on who remains / takes over as head coach. This offseason, George Wilson will turn 33 years old.
Drafting Clinton-Dix would appear like a “Best Player Available” strategy. The defensive backfield was the key reason for the turnaround of a defense that, just one season ago, surrendered a franchise-worst 471 points. Two of the main components (Alterraun Verner, Pollard) are free agents. Will management retain these pieces or save that money and invest it into other elements of the team?
What do our readers think? Would you be happy using a Top 10 draft pick on a safety? Give us your take in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.