One of the most talked about players when it comes to the Packers’ pick at number 21 is Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Stats:
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||Bench press||Vertical jump||Broad jump||3-cone drill|
|6’1″||208 pounds||32 3/8″||9″||4.58||11 reps||33″||119″||Pending|
Source: NFL.com Strengths: Clinton-Dix is a versatile safety who can play either in free space or in the box. For a Packers team that struggled against the run and gave up too many big pass plays, that kind of versatility would be a welcome addition and give Dom Capers some flexibility. With a 4.58 40 yard dash (adequate, not incredible), Clinton-Dix has the range that would allow Morgan Burnett to move back to the strong position giving the new rookie a bead on the big time NFC North opposing receivers with Tramon Williams and Sam Shields manning up and competing for the ball. The Packers defensive backfield has not been the same since it lost Nick Collins and getting back that big play potential on the back-end of the defense could be huge. With the signing of Julius Peppers, return of BJ Raji, and hopefully the health of Jolly, Matthews, and Jones…this pickup is making more sense by the minute. Weaknesses: On a Packers team that at times tackled poorly, Clinton-Dix will have to learn to be fundamentally sound in tackling. This is critical for the safety position as the last line of defense. Again, we have seen Tramon Williams and Sam Shields are savvy, ball hawking CB’s and though it is asking a lot, they have be be able to rely on the safety to be in position and make plays in space. Ha Ha also did serve a two-game suspension for taking a loan while in college and while that may give pause, it is not much of a red flag to me. The Packers organization and players are solid enough that we can chalk that one up to a young player making a mistake and expect nothing of the kind from him as a pro. Personally, from watching what tape of Ha Ha I could find, I tend to wonder to what extent he was the beneficiary of plays made by a great defense. How much of a part of it was he? On a lot of plays, I would like to see him a half step closer closing in on the receiver. With his 40 time, I am not sure he will be there against, say, Calvin Johnson. But with that said, he could certainly be an upgrade…if he is still available when the Packers pick.
Conclusion: In the pass-happy NFC North (with Vikings perhaps as exception) one large question is whether each of the other NFC North teams will pass on a player like Clinton-Dix. Many boards predict Clinton-Dix to be available but mark my words…the Lions and Bears will be taking a looooong look. If the cards fall the Packers’ way and they do draft Ha Ha, Green Bay’s defense will be looking much more solid for the coming season.