Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
According to Justin Rogers of MLive.com, there is a possibility that the Detroit Lions could fill the void at safety if the team decides to let Louis Delmas go all due to past injuries and a cap hit from his contract. A potential candidate who could fill the need at the position is Baylor Bears safety Ahmad Dixon.
Dixon is ranked third at the strong safety position by NFLDraftScout.com, behind Deone Bucannon
of Washington State
and Jimmie Ward
of Northern Illinois
. A three-year starter for the Bears, Dixon compiled 288 tackles and four interceptions in four years at Baylor. He was a consensus first-team All-Big 12 and first-team All-American by Sporting News in 2013. Dixon also appeared in the 2014 Senior Bowl at both strong and free safety.
In 50 career games played at Baylor, Dixon started 38 (26 at hybrid LB/DB, 12 at safety). He started every game in his sophomore and junior year, finishing with 102 tackles in 2012 and 89 in 2011. Dixon has encountered legal issues at Baylor. An incident in September saw him arrested for a misdemeanor assault. The charges were cleared, though, by a grand jury in December of last year.
Standing at 6-foot and weighing 205 pounds, Dixon is projected to be selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft
. The Lions have the 76th picks in the third round, as well as the 10th overall pick and the 45th pick in the second round. Dixon could be available when the Lions are on the clocks in their first three picks. He could be a great fit for a team that struggled in recent years in the secondary position.
Detroit finished 23rd in opposing passing yards, with 246.9 yards allowed and with 346.6 yards allowed per game. The team also suffered a significant amount of injuries to the secondary, including Chris Houston, Bill Bentley and Delmas. Adding a hard-hitting safety to the Lions’ roster will provide the team with much needed depth to the secondary.
The Lions have had recent success in drafting prospects in the later rounds that have provided valuable production for the team. That list includes defensive end Cliff Avril
in the third round in 2008, linebacker DeAndre Levy
in the third round in 2009 and offensive guard Larry Warford
in the third round in 2013.
If drafted by the Lions, Dixon will have the chance to play alongside veteran safety Glover Quin, who signed with the team last offseason. Both players are coming off of productive years, as Quin finished the season with a combined 57 tackles with three interceptions and two sacks. Dixon finished his senior year with 81 total tackles with one interception and one forced fumble. Detroit would benefit with two downhill players that can contribute to stopping the run in which the Lions finished sixth in opposing rushing yards last season.
Zach Libby is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Zach__Libby, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.