The Green Bay Packers went into the 2014 NFL Draft desperately in need of a safety. If there was one thing they needed to do, it was get a long-term solution at the position that has been a mess since the days of Nick Collins.
Well not only did the Packers pick up a safety, they were able to draft the best safety available in the 2014 Draft in Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The former Alabama standout has everything you want in a safety prospect and should be inserted into the Packers’ starting lineup from day one.
Clinton-Dix has the size and physical tools to excel in the NFL. He weights in at 6-1, 208 pounds and run a 4.56 in the forty-yard-dash. Plus, he played for Nick Saban in college, meaning he has experience in a pro-style defense and good football intelligence.
Last season, the Packers did not have a single safety that was able to register an interception and in a league where forcing turnovers is the best way for a defense to be effective, those numbers are unacceptable.
With Clinton-Dix starting at safety that will not happen again. He will be part of the solution and after intercepting seven passes over his last two seasons for the Crimson Tide, it’s say to safe that streak will come to an end in 2014.
In most cases, rookies don’t get a chance to start, especially in Green Bay. Clay Matthews had to wait four games in his career before he earned the right to be a full-time starter, Aaron Rodgers had to wait three years.
The Packers make their players earn it and even though they will not hand the job to Clinton-Dix, he is so superior to all the other safeties on the roster outside of Morgan Burnett, there is not other plausible outcome other than him winning the starting job.
With Clinton-Dix in the fold across from Burnett, the former third-rounder can focus on playing near the line of scrimmage where he excels, while Clinton-Dix can play the deep middle, helping to defend against the big play.
What made Collins so great was the he was the ultimate eraser. He was such an outstanding athlete that even if a guy was open down field, Collins would often break up those passes simply cause of his athleticism.
Clinton-Dix may not be in the same class as Collins speed wise but he possess all the attributes required to be an impact player right away and having that presence back at the safety position will go a long way in fixing the holes that have hampered the Green Bay defense over the past few seasons. That in a nutshell which is why Clinton-Dix will be starting for the Packers in Week 1 against Seattle.