(Editor's Note: The DallasCowboys.com team welcomes Bucky Brooks to the staff. Bucky brings a wealth of experience, not only as a former NFL player of five seasons, but also as a scout and on the pro personnel side for two teams. In the last decade, Brooks has worked in the media, including the NFL Network. Bucky will provide his own analysis and opinions of the Cowboys but also the entire NFL. Today, he breaks down one of the new free-agent signings in safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.)
- Name: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
- Position: Safety
- College: Alabama
- Height: 6-1
- Weight: 211
- Season: 7th
- Games Studied: 2019 (Bears vs. Redskins, Rams and Giants)
Clinton-Dix is a versatile safety with outstanding instincts, communication skills, and a high football IQ. The one-time Pro Bowler has 16 career picks and shows adequate range and ball skills as a deep defender. As a pass defender, Clinton-Dix's athleticism, awareness, and versatility stands out in man and zone coverage. The veteran is capable of roaming the deep middle as a post defender or dropping into the box to occupy zones as a curl/flat defender. Clinton-Dix will play his assignments correctly and make the plays that he is supposed to make on the ball but he isn't high-level ball hawk or turnover producer.
In man coverage, Clinton-Dix excels defending tight ends in the slot. He is at his best playing bump-and-run against tight ends but also displays the quickness and cover skills to effectively shadow from off.
Against the run, Clinton-Dix is a hesitant force player in the hole. He will step up to meet ball carriers but he isn't a striker or forceful tackler at the point of attack. Although he will wrap up and get runners to the ground, Clinton-Dix isn't a punishing hitter or consistent finisher. The veteran also struggles at times making open-field tackles. He takes good angles but has a tough time getting shifty ball carriers and receivers to the ground.
- Experienced defender with a high football IQ and excellent communication skills
- Natural centerfielder with adequate range and ball skills
- Versatile enough to play deep or in the box
- Matches up well against tight ends
- Inconsistent tackler
- Questionable in run support
- Not a playmaker
What are scouts saying?
Clinton-Dix is a smart, steady and reliable player. He's never missed a start so you can count on him to show up every week. He's not going to make any 'wow' plays but he will be a calming influence in the secondary. Clinton-Dix is the perfect bridge player for a secondary that's in transition.
How does he fit in with the Cowboys?
Clinton-Dix gives the Cowboys a rock-solid, veteran safety to control the back end of the defense. The seventh-year pro not only brings experience, a high football IQ and excellent communication skills, but he adds some versatility to the unit with his ability to play near the box or in the deep middle. With Clinton-Dix also capable of holding up in man and zone coverage, he will give defensive coordinator Mike Nolan the flexibility to utilize a variety of coverage and "rock-and-roll" (safeties interchange) movements to confuse quarterbacks. If Clinton-Dix can play at an adequate level as a run defender and open-field tackler, the veteran could stabilize the secondary with his presence.