I’d put a large amount of money on Clark being gone… and if he wasn’t already, he definitely is with his recent penchant for grabbing headlines.
The Steelers also worked out safety Louis Delmas earlier this week. I don’t expect him to sign in Pittsburgh, because he could probably get more money elsewhere.
However, I think that it shows the Steelers thinking on Shamarko Thomas is similar to what I’ve been thinking…
Shamarko’s strengths are in playing close to the line of scrimmage and punishing running backs, not playing deep coverage down the field. Shamarko is Troy Polamalu’s heir, not Ryan Clark’s.
That’s where Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix comes in. Despite having maybe the worst name in the draft, Ha Ha is a very talented football player.
Clinton-Dix and Lousiville safety Calvin Pryor fit the range at the #15 pick, but Ha Ha is a much better fit with the Steelers defense.
Ha Ha is a rare combination of size, explosiveness, and athleticism. He’ll make his money in the NFL by being a rangy center fielder, with good ball skills… Ha Ha has the instincts and hands to bring the splash plays that the Steelers defense has missed lately.
While he’s better in the deep zone, than manning up, he does have the quickness and length to hang with TE’s in the NFL.
Where Shamarko Thomas excels, is where Clinton-Dix could use some work. He has the size to be a solid tackler, but run support is not his strongest suit, and he doesn’t always wrap up.
These things can be coached, and the fact that he and Thomas are so different is why I think they could work very well together. Shamarko Thomas could eventually play Polamalu’s role of lining up in the box, while Clinton-Dix covers the deep part of the field.
We’ll see what happens in free agency. The only thing working against the Steelers making a pick like Ha Ha is they could probably find a serviceable starter at FS in free agency.
They say it’s a copycat league though, and the Seahawks just dominated opponents with their one two punch of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.
I remember during the 2008 playoffs all of the talk was about how safety’s were taking over the game. Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, and Adrian Wilson were all keys to the last 4 teams left in the Conference Championship games.
Even though he’s not at the top of my board right now, the Steelers could do much worse at the 15th pick than a player like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.