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My tour around the NFL’s best defensive fantasy impact rookies continues with the man of many hyphens: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix.   This former member of the Alabama Tide made quite the impact against a lot of high-powered teams during his ha-hacollege career and plans to continue his excellent level of play with the Green Bay Packers.  To get a good idea of the skills Clinton-Dix brings, I reviewed four of his 2013 college games against some of the nation’s most powerful offenses in Texas A & M,  Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss.  It was easy to see that the Packers got a steal in the first round, but will that make him a fantasy IDP superstar?

This free safety is fearless in coverage and when tackling his opponents.  What I mean by that is, he launches himself at the target (sometimes leading with his head) to break up passes or smash a ball carrier taking them off their feet.  This is a bit reckless for the NFL, so Clinton-Dix will need to learn to use his shoulder pads to deliver hits to the chest to break passes up or take a player down.   He is quite good with the timing of those breakups by hitting the offensive player when the ball arrives.  Clinton-Dix gets sent on quite a few blitzes, but usually got picked up because he isn’t physical enough to deal with the blockers he faces.  While this safety can man-handle most wide receivers, running backs and offensive linemen knock him around quite a bit.

Clinton-Dix plays well lining up in the slot and over the top at free safety like center fielder in baseball, flowing well to the ball in the air.  He has great closing speed, changes directions easily, sees the entire field while playing with great instincts and anticipation.  Unlike most free safeties, Clinton-Dix is a sure wrap-up tackler and is a great cleanup hitter when another defender stands up the ball carrier.  He is always trying to rip the ball out once the tackle is secure.  When it comes to broken plays, Clinton-Dix has the jets to chase down a play 20-30 yards down the field to save a touchdown.  What this also means is that unless you are playing in a league that rewards pass defenses or more points for big plays, Clinton-Dix should not be your first defensive back choice.  His tackle opportunities playing free safety will not be plentiful.  Although I still think he is a great IDP fantasy player to invest in, but don’t reach for him before the fourth round of your rookie drafts.

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