Philadelphia Eagles: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Clinton-Dix asks Eagles to draft him

May, 8, 2014
May 8
8:00
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Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be an intriguing selection for the Philadelphia Eagles when their turn comes up at No. 22 in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft.

Clinton-Dix believes it would be the perfect marriage, according to CSNPhilly.com.

CSNPhilly.com reported that Clinton-Dix sent a text message to Eagles director of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, a former Alabama football recruiter, to push for the team to draft him.

"He sent me an article and I was on the front of it, about going to Philly and what not," Clinton-Dix told CSNPhilly.com at an NFL Play60 event in Manhattan Wednesday involving the prospects invited to Radio City Music Hall. "I told him to tell them to come get me, please. Whatever it takes."

Clinton-Dix compared himself to former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, one of the most popular players in franchise history.

"Dawkins was the last hot head they had," Clinton-Dix told CSNPhilly.com. "I don't know if I could fill his shoes, but I'd definitely bring an impact to that team."

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Clinton-Dix reportedly ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Clinton-Dix believes he can succeed at a high level in the NFL, much like Dawkins.

"I can do it all, from blitzing to covering, to playing the post, quarters," Clinton-Dix told CSNPhilly.com. "Whatever needs to be done, I'm doing it. Like I said, Brian Dawkins is a different breed, but I'm my own breed as well. You'd get a different feel with me."
PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL scouting combine is wrapping up Tuesday in Indianapolis. Here’s how some of the players we identified as possible Philadelphia Eagles picks fared in the annual NFL job fair.

Wide receivers

[+] EnlargeBrandin Cooks
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBrandin Cooks might be out of the Eagles' reach after his fast time in the 40-yard dash at the combine.
Brandin Cooks of Oregon State might have moved up beyond the Eagles’ grasp by running the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds. That was the second fastest time overall, behind only running back Dri Archer. Combined with Cooks’ incredible numbers from last season -- 128 catches, 1,730 yards -- the 5-foot-10, 189 pounder likely sealed his first-round status.

Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State was as big as advertised -- 6-5, 240 pounds. His 40 time of 4.61 wasn’t especially impressive, but did we mention he’s 6-5?

Odell Beckham Jr., the LSU wideout projected to the Eagles in Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent (pre-combine) mock draft Insider, ran a 4.43. That increases his added value as a possible return man.

Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, who goes 6-3, 212 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.46, and also impressed by doing 21 bench press reps. Receivers don’t have to lift bales of hay, but upper-body strength helps when blocking or trying to get off the line against press coverage.

Edge rushers

Dee Ford, the Auburn defensive end projected to the Eagles by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, proclaimed himself a better player than Jadeveon Clowney, then did not participate in drills because of a medical issue. Ford said he was told not to work out because of a 2011 back injury. You have to wonder if that concern will drop Ford on draft boards.

Anthony Barr of UCLA is considered the second best outside linebacker prospect after Buffalo’s Kahlil Mack. The Eagles would only have a shot at Barr if he slipped a bit. His disappointing bench press result (15 reps) probably wasn’t enough to overshadow his 4.66 speed. (Mack ran a 4.65 and did 23 reps.)

Stanford’s Trent Murphy worked out with the linebackers, not the defensive linemen, and remains an intriguing option for the Eagles. The 6-5, 250-pound Murphy ran a 4.86.

Defensive backs

The top two safeties, Lousiville’s Calvin Pryor and Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, ran identical 40 times of 4.58. They didn’t separate themselves from each other, but the blazing speed at cornerback could potentially sway a DB-needy team or two to go that route and drop the safeties a few spots.

Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State is one of those corners. Gilbert ran a 4.35 Tuesday. At 6-0, 202 pounds, that gives him an enviable combination of size and speed.

Michigan State corner Darqueze Dennard was projected to the Eagles Insider by Todd McShay. After running a 4.42, the 5-11, 199-pound Dennard might also have moved up beyond the No. 22 spot.
PHILADELPHIA -- With the NFL combine in full swing and free agency creeping up on us, it’s a perfect time for speculation and discussion about the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Let’s get right to this week’s Twitter conversation (and please: it’s never too early to jump into next week’s convo by tweeting me @SheridanScribe with the hashtag #espneagles):

 

Combine prep: Safeties

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
12:10
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PHILADELPHIA -- The scouting combine begins Wednesday in Indianapolis. The Eagles will be taking it all in, checking the measurable and interviewing potential draftees. They have players they’re especially interested in seeing up close, but general manager Howie Roseman isn’t sharing that kind of info.

Based on their needs and the players available, we’ll take a look at some prospects of interest every day until the combine is over. Let’s start with the Eagles’ most glaring need position, safety.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama. ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both have the 6-foot-1, 208-pound Clinton-Dix going to Dallas at 17 in their latest first-round mocks. Mike Mayock of NFL Network has Clinton-Dix as his second highest rated safety behind Louisville’s Calvin Pryor.

“He doesn't have elite man-to-man coverage skills but has good range in zone and is an aggressive, efficient run supporter,” McShay writes. Kiper says Clinton-Dix gives “the added bonus of being able to help out closer to the line of scrimmage. While he's great in single high, you can bring him up and he won't shy away from contact.”

Calvin Pryor, Louisville. Mayock’s top-rated safety is 6-2, 208 pounds. Kiper describes Pryor as a “downhill safety who will fly up to the line of scrimmage and make plays. While he's got work to do in coverage, he's instinctive and athletic enough to get better there.”

NFL Network’s Nolan Nawrocki describes Pryor in words that should appeal to Eagles fans: “A big, physical, hammering run defender brings an enforcer mentality to the box and an intimidating, punishing presence to the back end. Is arguably the most violent hitter in this year's draft class and should make his presence felt readily in the pros.”

Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State. Joyner is listed as a cornerback in most roundups, but Mayock projects him as a safety/nickelback type. Because he’s only 5-8, the Eagles would probably not seriously consider him as a corner. But Kiper has him as his third-ranked cornerback and Nawrocki describes him as playing “bigger than his size.” Also a return man.

Deone Bucannon, Washington State. If the Eagles go elsewhere in the early rounds, the 6-1, 216-pound Bucannon could be a second-day option. Nawrocki describes him as “old school” and a classic strong safety type. Had six interceptions as a senior.

Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois. The 5-11, 192-pound Ward had seven interceptions in 2013. Kiper describes him as a riser “who isn't a big player but is a very good one and looks as if he can start early. Likely a second-rounder.”

Eagles-eye view: In the first year under Bill Davis, the Eagles didn’t really have a free safety and a strong safety. Nate Allen tended to play deeper and either Earl Wolff or Patrick Chung was closer to the line, but that was subject to change.

It isn’t clear whether that was Davis’ preference or he was simply getting by with the personnel on hand. What is clear is that the proliferation of spread offenses and athletic tight ends requires a group of versatile, athletic defensive backs who can cover as well as tackle.

That is what the Eagles will be looking for in Indy this week.

Kiper mock 1.0 reaction: Eagles

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
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When I took a look at some of the Eagles’ first-round draft possibilities the other day, I couldn’t help but notice some big wide receivers that might be around for the 22nd pick.

Sure, the Eagles need defensive help more urgently, but GM Howie Roseman and coach Chip Kelly are committed to taking the best player on their board. And Kelly surely wouldn’t mind if that player happened to add an element missing from his array of offensive weapons.

So it seems perfect that Mel Kiper’s first 2014 mock draft Insider has the Eagles taking Florida State’s 6-foot-4 Kelvin Benjamin. It was Benjamin who caught Jameis Winston’s game-winning touchdown in the national championship game against Auburn -- exactly the kind of red zone target Nick Foles could use.

In his mock draft, Kiper has the two top safeties -- Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor -- off the board when the Eagles pick. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, another of the big-bodied wide receivers I mentioned, is also gone.

That leaves the Eagles choosing from among some intriguing players --Benjamin, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard among them.

If that scenario presents itself, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Roseman and Kelly went for Benjamin, who caught 54 passes last season -- 15 of them for touchdowns.

The Eagles’ wide receiver situation will be a lot clearer by the May draft. Riley Cooper, who had a breakout season, will be an unrestricted free agent. So will Jeremy Maclin, who tore his ACL in training camp and missed the entire season. Jason Avant has one more year left on his deal, but could be a salary-cap casualty.

Decisions on those three players will go a long way toward deciding who will join DeSean Jackson in the wide receivers meetings. Losing any of them could make the position a priority, rather than a luxury, when the draft rolls around.

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