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.
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.