With the depth at cornerback and wide receiver in this draft — add that to the fact I do not think these two prospects will be there at 25 – and the Chargers will likely not draft one of these two prospects. But since safety is a crucial need for the secondary, I have delved into the tape and decided to do an analysis on both prospects. Here are two prospects that the San Diego Chargers should consider if either were to fall to 25. Both players could help the secondary immediately, and would be upgrades while Jahleel Addae develops.
Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix (S/6’1”/208/Alabama)
Stats for 2013:
Forced Fumbles: 0
Pros: Good run-play recognition at the snap. Has good footwork and the speed to go toe-to-toe with most tight ends and slots in the NFL. Great hands and gets the ball at the height of his jump. Good tackler. I’d put him more in a strong safety role. Has a great sense of angling toward the ball carrier and his hips in drop-coverage is very fluid.
Cons: He’s not fast enough to be a free safety, nor is he a rangy enough guy to be one. He doesn’t do great in zone-coverage and at times loses his man to switches. Doesn’t have great route-recognition and not the greatest pass-defense safety. He’s in a weird spot for me because he’s not big and strong enough to be a strong safety, but he’s not fast and rangy enough to be a free safety. He refuses to put a hand-on-man while covering downfield so he tends to lose his man during breaks. Bites on play-actions and pump fakes too much. He doesn’t have the greatest ability to shed blocks and at times is slow to recognize open-man.
Calvin Pryor (S/5’11”/207/Louisville)
Stats for 2013:
Forced Fumbles: 2
Pros: Great rangy safety that can be a center fielder for any team. Great pre-snap reads to shift coverage or switch in-box to help out the run. He does a great job on zone-switches with his other DB’s and rarely bites on play-actions. He’s a great tackler and a pop is added to his hits. Has a knack for making plays and rarely gets beat on flys.
Cons: He’s not a man-on-man safety. He likes to stay in his zone and rarely shifts out to a man coverage if the play shows on pre-snap. He plays a bit too excited and at times mistimes interceptions. Doesn’t like to use his hands for pass break up and isn’t the greatest jumper. He takes bad tackling angles in the open field and doesn’t like to go mid-range tackles. Doesn’t have the greatest run-recognition.
Contrary to popular belief, Clinton-Dix is not a center fielder free safety. He doesn’t have the range nor does he have the footwork to be a center fielder and his pass-play recognition is average at best. Though the Chargers are in need of a strong safety, I do believe that Pryor, even with his skill set to be a free safety, is the better pick for the Chargers. Pryor’s skill set reminds me of Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals except for the fact that he hits harder than Mathieu does and isn’t as rangy as Mathieu. If these prospects are there at 25, and the remaining corners/receivers/guards are not value picks, I would definitely grab these two players to help bolster the secondary of the Chargers.
Adding a safety could give more flexibility for Eric Weddle to play the Troy Polamalu “playmaker” role in the defense and provide the struggling corners extra help on the back end. It’s an option that hasn’t been talked about much, but another stud safety is what this secondary might need.