Hello and welcome to my first open film session with NFL Draft Bible! This evening, I'll be taking a live look into Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's performance vs. Auburn this year. Clinton-Dix is a player who is almost universally expected to declare for the NFL Draft by next week's deadline of January 15th. In an effort to not make any additional work for myself than I absolutely need to, I tend to avoid grading non-senior tape until an official declaration has been made. But for the sake of my Offseason Preview Guide (which will be handed out to fellow media/scouts at next week's practices in St. Petersburg, FL for the East/West Shrine Game and afterwards will be made available right here on NFL Draft Bible) Clinton-Dix is in need of a film grade. So without further ado, if you care to follow along I'll be marking plays with minute and second markers and following up with what I'm seeing on the tape:
(Draft video is courtesy of the fine folks at draftbreakdown.com)
(0:00) - Good delay pre-snap to mask intent, good pre-snap read to adjust to the jet motion across the set. After the snap, disappointing attack of the LOS and a weak job shedding the blocker and conceding the perimeter. Nice powerful hit at the end of the play on the sideline.
(0:14) - Good mental command of defensive adjustments pre-snap. Poor job locating the football, but this is an excellent job by the offensive line blocking in their spacing to create a natural lane for Clinton-Dix to feel responsible for covering. Runs himself out of the play, and the effort once Marshall gains a few yards of separation is poor as well...he jogs when he's just 3 yards behind the ball carrier.
(0:48) - Another masked coverage, delays to within 5 yards of the LOS at the snap. Does a better job in both pressing/disengaging his blocker and locating the football.
(0:58) - Man coverage on the slot, very quick recognition of the crossing pattern. Clinton-Dix's hips snap open to inside quickly to allow a change of direction and driving off the back foot. Ball is away before he can close the off coverage cushion he'd allowed at the snap.
(1:06) - Cover 2 alignment, is in perfect position on the deep shot Marshall takes down the field. Cover 2 man safeties have to maintain their depth deeper than the deepest offensive player and with only 1 receiver on that side of the hash and an early release, Clinton-Dix has actually flipped his hips and has the receiver in the trail position chasing after the overthrown football.
(1:18) - Clinton-Dix is the single high safety here. As Mason bursts out onto the second level, Clinton-Dix does a nice job eluding a blocker by ducking underneath a would be block. However, in cutting underneath instead of crossing his face, he's compromised his angle on the ball carrier and slides off what should have been a last line of defense tackle.
(1:30) - Caught off guard with the snap but has a nice recovery by planting his foot in the ground and driving towards the LOS when given a run read. Not actively working to shake and shed his blocker until Mason has already broken past him, where Clinton-Dix peels off and cleans up the play.
(1:38) - Late swap up into a linebacker slot pre-snap. Again caught taking the easy way out of avoiding a blocker, runs underneath instead of crossing face. The blocker hear overruns but recovers to get his hands on Clinton-Dix who ultimately has no impact on end result of the play.
(1:45) - Again showing good mental command and leadership of the secondary in calling out adjustments against the jet motion. As coverage shifts pre-snap, Clinton-Dix adjusts to overtop stack behind MLB. Marshall pulls and keeps, but Clinton-Dix isn't attacking the line of scrimmage like you'd see out of Deone Bucannon, Ahmad Dixon or Isaiah Lewis. Comes in with pad level high to clean up scrum.
(1:56) - Creeps out of a cover 2 look pre-snap, the corner bailing simultaneously suggests a cover 3 zone or a man to man coverage. Clinton-Dix does a much better job here diagnosing the run, attacking his blocker and extending his hands before disengaging to make a play on the ball carrier.
(2:05) - Again in a cover 2 look at the snap, Clinton-Dix drifts off into a back pedal (lack of urgency can be explained by Auburn being in the red zone) But with the slot inside being collisioned and with a coverage defender sitting directly over top, there's no excuse for Clinton-Dix NOT getting width on the vertical route being run on the perimeter. As a result, Clinton-Dix is late to make a play to the football and Auburn scores a touchdown. Clinton-Dix also makes no play whatsoever on both the football or on the receiver in an attempt to jar the ball loose. Poor effort and instincts on this play.
(2:32) - Cover 2 alignment (he's so narrow to the center of the field because of no receiver split to the left outside the numbers) Clinton-Dix does a nice job coming downhill to make a play on Marshall's pull of the ball, but he takes a poor angle and attempts to stick his nose inside. With no defender on the perimeter, Clinton-Dix has to play as a contain player, but instead when running up he comes down inside a blocker before realizing the corner is compromised and trying to cross face. At this point, he's given up his angle and Clinton-Dix is trailing the play.
(2:41) - A late creep onto the line of scrimmage on a blitz play, Clinton-Dix does a nice job exploding off the line to get some depth of LT Greg Robinson. However, it's a screen to the opposite side so he's a non-factor (although he should have drawn a holding penalty for being tossed to the ground).
(2:48) - Clinton-Dix makes a very aggressive play to the LOS upon seeing the jet motion coming pre-snap to his side of the alignment. He aggressively plugs his blocker but he does it with the WRONG shoulder. With the speed motion coming towards the perimeter, Clinton Dix should be attacking the outside shoulder of his blocker so he can maintain leverage and string this play all the way to the sideline. Instead, he attacks inside, concedes contain and allows the ball carrier with a lead blocker to pick up a first down.
(2:57) - After walking up into the box, Clinton-Dix is well prepared for the ball carrier, no traffic in front and a good tackling position.
(3:05) - Clinton-Dix arrives into the box very late with the sudden motion to change the strength call. Engages his blocker well but again his pad level is too tall and he's conceding ground trying to shed.
(3:12) - In the box, Clinton-Dix is designated a "free" defender if the back doesn't leak out. The back is delayed, but shows and Clinton-Dix has nice recognition and breaks well on the pass. He arrives at the ball carrier just as the back gets square to the line of scrimmage but Clinton-Dix is a bit hot when breaking down, his momentum carries him past the runner. He either needs to take a sharper angle or break down sooner to avoid being shook in space.
(3:21) - Clinton-Dix is caught with eyes in the backfield and gives no respect to Marshall as a passer. Of course, this is an outstanding play by Marshall however there's no excuse for a secondary player to sell out this hard on a run by a Quarterback and leave a receiver without anyone within 10 yards of him with the football game on the line. Poor job reading keys and being situationally aware.
Overall, this was a poor showing for Clinton-Dix. You can tell that he is a physical specimen and he has a great mental grasp on the defensive adjustments and coverage options depending on what Auburn shows them but during the live action Ha Ha was undisciplined and overall took poor angles all game long. For the hype that he has gotten all season, this certainly wasn't the game to go at the top of his film highlights. Of course, this is just one of five games I will watch on S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix tonight, so here's to some marked improvement on the next film.