April 14, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back HaHa Clinton-Dix (6) during the spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. Predicts the Dallas Cowboys will Draft...

NFL Draft guru and ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has now released his first official mock draft for the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. And in it, he predicts the Cowboys will look to fill a need in their defensive backfield with their first round pick. Here’s what Kiper’s prediction is for Dallas:

Dallas Cowboys Select: Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

“I don’t see a decent free safety solution on the Cowboys’ roster, and good ones typically don’t make it to free agency so this pick lines up need and board value pretty effectively…Instinctive and fluid, he’s the top free safety option in the draft and has proven he can play Cover 1 against teams looking to exploit him by working the perimeter. He reads the quarterback well and can accelerate or turn quickly to make plays in any direction.”

Here’s my report on Clinton-Dix from an earlier article:

Measurables: 6-1, 208, 4.54

CBS Big Board Rank: 32nd Overall

Walter Football Big Board Rank: 14th Overall

Quick Analysis: Hasean “HaHa” Clinton-Dix sits alone in the first round at safety. NFL Mocks calls him a classic center fielder, who has the speed to cover the entire field and excels at reading quarterbacks before the ball is out. But there are some personality issues to consider as he was previously suspended for taking a loan from an Alabama assistant.

Cowboys Angle: If Dallas wants take a safety in the first round, Clinton-Dix is the one to take. Despite the tackles racked up by Cowboys starting safety Barry Church this season, he has yet to prove himself anything but a tackler. And when rookie J.J. Wilcox has been on the field, he has underwhelmed. The Cowboys have the worst pass defense in the NFL and possibly the worst in franchise history. If Dallas continues to participate in the Monte Kiffin experiment next season, stronger safety play will be required. And Clinton-Dix’s coverage skills could make the perfect complement to the hard-hitting Church and Wilcox.

To see my Top Ten 2014 Draft Prospects For The Dallas Cowboys First Round Pick, click here.

To see Mel Kiper Jr.’s entire first round mock draft, click here. (subscription required)

Source Links: NFL Mocks, CBS Sports Big Board, Walter Football Big Board

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