The Green Bay Packers selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft because they thought he could be a playmaker. And after four games, it looks like they were right because Clinton-Dix has already become one of the most impactful players on the Green Bay defense.
The 6-1, 205-pound safety, has come into the NFL and proven he belongs. In four games, the former Alabama star, who is not even a full-time starter, has 13 total tackles, one interception, one sack, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed.
Last season the Packers failed to get a single interception from a safety. It took Clinton-Dix three games to get one. In his first game in the NFL, he sacked Russell Wilson, recovered a fumble, had a pass defense and notched five tackles. Last week against the Bears, Clinton-Dix played 74 percent of the snaps on defense and finished with five tackles.
The Packers and really every defense in today’s NFL need a safety that can cover wide receivers and tight ends, while at the same time have the ability to tackle running backs and athletic quarterbacks. Green Bay didn’t have anyone like that last year and now they do in Clinton-Dix.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Clinton-Dix but the time for him to be inserted into the starting lineup is coming soon. Clay Matthews had to wait four games to be a starter as a rookie in 2009, so now Clinton-Dix can wait for his turn, especially with Morgan Burnett and Micah Hyde both playing fairly well right now.
Despite being the third safety, there is no doubt that Clinton-Dix is quickly turning into one of the most reliable playmakers on a defense that simply did not have enough last season. The debate about whether the rookie first-rounder should be starting can be had another day, for now, let’s just revel in the glow of adding an impact player to the backend the Packers defense.