ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. continues to tout Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as the Cowboys’ first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Kiper projected Clinton-Dix for the Cowboys in his first mock draft released in mid-January. Dallas has serious needs all over a defense that ranked last season as one of the worst in league history.

“I don’t see a free safety solution on the Cowboys’ roster, and good ones typically don’t make it to free agency,” Kiper wrote last month, “so this pick lines up need and board value pretty effectively.”

During a conference call Wednesday, Kiper reiterated his belief that Dallas will target Clinton-Dix, who recorded seven interceptions for the Crimson Tide over the last two seasons. The 6-foot-1, 208-pound underclassman had 52 tackles, two interceptions and broke up six passes in 11 games in 2013.

“I think you could look defensive line…I think safety is the big thing for the Cowboys right now,” Kiper said.

Kiper ranks Clinton-Dix as the 23rd overall prospect in this class.

“Instinctive and fluid, he’s the top free safety option in the draft and has proven he can play Cover 1 against teams looking to exploit him by working the perimeter,” Kiper wrote in January. “He reads the quarterback well and can accelerate or turn quickly to make plays in any direction.”

Kiper said another option for the Cowboys would be Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound underclassman is considered the most physical defensive back in this class.