General manager Ted Thompson is a stoic man who goes about his business quietly. The 2014 offseason was another quiet one for the Green Bay Packers. Besides the signing of Julius Peppers, the Packers just re-signed players. In the past two months, the Packers came to terms with Mike Neal and B.J. Raji. After signing Peppers, the Packers now have a solid pass rush. If you have a good pass rush, it makes it easier for the secondary to cover their opponents and create turnovers.
After Charles Woodson went back to play for the Oakland Raiders, the Packers didn’t have a starting-level free safety on their roster. In 2013, M.D. Jennings and Micah Hyde shared time at the important free safety position. Jennings is more of a special teams player at best, while Hyde fits better at the cornerback position. When the Packers were on the clock, it was pretty clear who their first-round pick was going to be. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, a consensus All-American, was still on the board, and he will be a surefire starter in the secondary for years to come.
Although it is hard to compare a player to Woodson, Clinton-Dix has a great skill set and his impact will be felt as soon as he gets on the field. Clinton-Dix will not put on the big hit like Calvin Pryor, but he is easily the best coverage safety in this draft which will be important in Green Bay’s defensive scheme. Clinton-Dix is defensive coordinator Dom Capers‘ type of player.
Unlike many first-round players in this draft, Clinton-Dix is a plug-and-play guy. Coming from the University of Alabama, which produced safety Mark Barron two years ago, Clinton-Dix has played against some of the best competition in the SEC and was a four-year contributor. There will be some growing pains because he will need to add on a little weight, but the talent is there for him to be one of the best center fielders in the NFL.