Position: Strong Safety
Height/weight: 6'0", 212 lbs.
The Cowboys currently have two strong safeties on the roster, J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath, both of whom were rookies last season. According to ESPN Dallas’ Todd Archer, back in early March, Jerry Jones said the following:
He mentioned liking what they have at safety but would not rule out a draft pick.
The Dallas Morning News ranks safety as the No. 3 need for this team. In 2013, third round draft pick Wilcox missed three games and when he did play, he was not a consistent presence. The combination of Wilcox and Heath provides a question mark at best for the Cowboys’ strong safety position.
In the Cowboys’ defensive scheme, both safeties have to cover a lot of ground, tackle well and display closing speed. This is where Dixon comes into play for the 'Boys.
The First Team All-Big selection in 2013 was a lightning rod for controversy at Baylor, whether it was warranted or not. Against TCU, he was ejected for targeting on this play. That play and the aftermath that ensued caused TCU’s Head Coach Gary Patterson to go on an epic rant in which he rips Dixon and the entire Baylor program. Dixon collected 70 tackles and one interception as a senior for the Big 12 champions. His reputation for being a hard-hitting safety combined with his ability as an emotional leader was paramount for a much-improved Baylor defense.
Why he’s a good fit for the Cowboys
While Wilcox might be slightly faster than Dixon (4.51 – 4.64), Ahmad is more polished at the position since he played it his entire career unlike Wilcox (was wide receiver until senior year). Dixon’s strength is open-field tackling which is needed in Marinelli’s scheme, and he is exceptional in run support.
Here you can see Dixon sniff out run plays on the strong and weak sides of the field against a run-first Kansas State team (ran the ball on 62 percent of its plays last year).
Dixon's agressiveness and ability to quell plays that get past the front seven would be a valuable addition to the Dallas defense. Ahmad is projected as mid-round pick that could go as high as the third round. Most draft sites have him anywhere from the No. 4 safety in the draft to as low as the No. 10.
”Take no prisoners. Whatever happens, happens. We’re going to play lights out football.” – Dixon on the mentality heading into the Oklahoma game.
Dixon is cut from a similar mold of a former Cowboys strong safety, Roy Williams. One of his weaknesses is that he goes for the big hit at times and fails to wrap up. He plays with an aggressive style like Williams, but is a better coverage safety as seen here when he clinches the victory over Kansas State with an interception (12:05 mark).
Fellow WFAA Sports writer Landon Haaf feels that the Cowboys would be better served if they were to go after a safety in the first round as he suggests Ha Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor if they are available. If they do decide to wait a few rounds though, Dixon is definitely a good value pick in the fourth or fifth round.
Eddie Middlebrook is a staff writer for Paranoid Fan, covering MLB and college football. Back in 2010, Eddie wrote for Fox Sports Southwest covering the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks and the Big 12. In 2012, he began writing for Shutdown Inning where he eventually became Vice President of Media. You can email Eddie at email@example.com or catch him on Twitter @emiddlebrook.