Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix reportedly has met -- or will meet with -- at least nine teams, but not with the team that he perhaps is most associated with in this draft.
Clinton-Dix, who is the top safety available and might be the first defensive back to come off the board, has met with teams whose picks range from No. 6 (Atlanta) to No. 28 (Carolina). NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted last week that he has met with the Falcons, Lions (10th pick), Titans (11th), Bears (14th), and Panthers. He has also visited the Ravens (17th) and Eagles (22nd), according to the National Football Post. Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports reported that Clinton-Dix will also visit with the Jets (18) on Thursday, and had previously met with the Patriots (29).
That list of teams does not include St. Louis, which picks 13th. NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has said he would be surprised if Clinton-Dix makes it past the Rams. Fellow analyst Bucky Brooks has written that the Rams are a "perfect fit" for Clinton-Dix; actually, he wrote that Clinton-Dix is a perfect fit for five teams, but the Rams pick first among that quintet. Even the Rams' official website -- which called Clinton-Dix "a proven winner" -- notes that numerous draft experts have Clinton-Dix pegged as "a potential option" for the Rams with the No. 13 pick.
Does not having a visit with a player preclude a team from picking that player? Of course not. Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert had just one team meeting last year, and he went in the first round. Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks, a first-round lock this year, has just one scheduled meeting.
Clinton-Dix to the Rams makes a lot of sense. The biggest reason: The Rams' projected starting free safety right now probably would be Rodney McLeod. If you said, "Who?" when you heard that name, you wouldn't be alone.
Pairing Clinton-Dix with second-year strong safety T.J. McDonald, a third-round pick last year, would greatly increase the talent level on the back end. Having talented safeties in a division that also has Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle is a must.
St. Louis has two first-round picks: its own at No. 13 plus the No. 2 pick, which it acquired in the Robert Griffin III trade. The Rams are said to be interested in trading the second pick; if they don't, they could pick up a needed offensive tackle or wide receiver at No. 2. The biggest defensive need is safety -- while the No. 2 pick is a bit steep for a safety in this draft, taking one at No. 13 would make a lot of sense.
If the Rams do trade the No. 2 pick but remain in the top 10 or somewhere close, taking a safety then makes a lot of sense, too.
While Clinton-Dix has met with the Falcons, it's extremely difficult to see them taking a safety -- even one as highly regarded as Clinton-Dix -- at No. 6. But Detroit, Tennessee and Chicago using their picks on Clinton-Dix makes a lot of sense on a lot of levels.
If Philadelphia and Carolina don't trade up, neither is going to have a shot at Clinton-Dix.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.