The Chicago Bears‘ defense was terrible as a whole last season, but it was their safeties in particular that struggled. Major Wright and Chris Conte both graded out in the bottom five of the 86 qualifying safeties, according to ProFootballFocus.com. PFF also had Wright and Conte as the two worst safeties in the NFL against the run. There is no doubt that safety is a position the Bears must address this offseason. Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix is a player in the 2014 NFL Draft that the Bears should take a long look at in the first round.
Clinton-Dix has very strong coverage instincts, better than any other safety in the draft class. He possesses good ball skills and a real nose for the football against screens. The potential is there for him to cover receivers and tight ends with the proper coaching. Clinton-Dix is also an experienced blitzing safety; he was successful in doing so at Alabama.
Against Texas A&M, Clinton-Dix struggled in coverage with Mike Evans. Of course, every prospect has one or two bad games, but this instance is an indicator that he needs work in his man coverage skills. Also, there is no way of predicting how Clinton-Dix will be able to key in offensive concepts the way he did at Alabama. Picking up on these nuances may take some time for Clinton-Dix.
In terms of potential, Clinton-Dix is very similar to Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs. If placed in the right situation, Clinton-Dix can develop into a perennial pro bowler and become one of the best defensive playmakers in the NFL.
How He Would Fit In Chicago
Assuming that the Bears bring in a safety through free agency, Clinton-Dix have to fight to earn his starting spot in the defensive backfield. However, there is no doubt that Clinton-Dix would win the job and make a difference for the Bears immediately. Having a playmaker like him in the secondary would be a welcomed change for a defense that struggled in every facet last season.