Lions could have their choice between two very different safeties

Posted Feb 24, 2014

The Detroit Lions have a need at safety after moving on from Louis Delmas

INDIANAPOLIS – Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, by most accounts, are the two top safeties available in May’s NFL Draft.

They’re also two very different players.

Ha Ha Clinton-DixS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Photo: AP Images)

Pryor (5-11, 207) is the thumper. He excels in the box as a devastating hitter.

“It’s mainly mind-set,” Pryor told reporters down at the NFL Scouting Combine of his play. “It’s all about mind-set and how you’re going to attack the guy. You want to deliver the hit, you don’t want to take the hit.

“I can play strong safety, free safety, I can come up and hit, I feel like I can cover, I’m a playmaker.

Clinton-Dix (6-1, 208) is more of a cover safety at his best in the deep part of the field.

“I play fast, I’m very physical, I’m not afraid to line up against the slot, I can do it all,’’ Clinton-Dix said.

“There’s a lot of good, top prospects out there, but I think what separates me from the rest of them is the system I played in (at Alabama). I think that’s what separates me.’’

The one thing Clinton-Dix has been trying to prove to teams is he can also play in the box and be versatile.

“My sophomore year I wasn’t in the box that much, but my junior year I feel I got involved in the box a lot and was able to make a lot of tackles in the box,” he said. “I think I can play both deep field and inside the box.”

Both players could be potential targets for the Lions at No. 10.

The Lions have moved on from former first-round pick Louis Delmas, who was their do-it-all safety the last five seasons.

The brought in veteran Glover Quin last offseason and he was a terrific addition in all 16 games this past season. Now, the Lions will look to pair a young playmaker next to him.

"With the NFL being a passing league now, you need more DBs out there," said Pryor. "You have to do so much. You've got to come up and support the run or you have to drop back in safety. It's not like a corner where you just think pass all day. You have to think and adjust every game."

The more versatile that player can be, the better, especially if he’s in consideration at No. 10. The key for the Lions is to pair the right blend of talents to compliment Quin.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said both Pryor and Clinton-Dix are top-10 picks after watching them on tape.

“C.P. is a great player,” Clinton-Dix said. “He plays fast, he’s always around the ball, he can hit. He’s a physical person.

“If I compare myself, I’ll just say I’m as quick as him. I can’t say I can hit like him because he’s a big hitter. But he’s a great guy.”