With the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from the University of Alabama and immediately upgraded their defense. After the top linebackers came off the board, the Packers’ next best option was adding a quality safety to come in and start Week 1, and they had their choice of Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor as both players were somehow still on the board.
The Packers went with Clinton-Dix and filled a glaring hole in their defense. Last season the Packers were the only team in pro football to not receive any interceptions from the safety position. With M.D. Jennings departing via free agency, the team needed to find a player this weekend who could walk right onto the field from day one and contribute. Clinton-Dix should fill that gap as he played at a very high level during his time with Alabama.
Clinton-Dix was a two-year starter for the Crimson Tide, racking up seven interceptions and nine pass deflections over a 25-game span. It is this playmaking ability that made him desirable for the Packers. Having to play against Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery with the Chicago Bears and Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate with the Detroit Lions twice each season, the Packers needed someone with the ability to go make plays down the field in coverage. At 6-foot-1 and 208-pounds, Clinton-Dix has the size to match up well with these big receivers in the NFC North.
Taking all of this into consideration, I’d give the Packers a solid A for this pick. They were able to fill a big-time need with a big-time playmaker. It seems safe to assume there will be more than zero interceptions for the Packers’ safeties after this season.
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