Packers general manger Ted Thompson’s batting average on recent first-round draft picks is below the Mendoza Line. For you non-baseball fans, that means Thompson is hitting under .200 with a lot of tappers back to the pitcher or lazy popups instead of line drives to the gap or tape-measure home runs.
Bryan Bulaga: Talented, some good stretches of play, but can’t stay healthy.
Derek Sherrod: Wasn’t overly impressive before breaking his leg and missing most of two seasons.
Nick Perry: Switched to a 3-4 OLB and can’t stay healthy.
Datone Jones: Hyped during training camp, slowed by an ankle injury, passed on the depth chart by fifth-rounder Josh Boyd.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Currently behind converted slot cornerback Micah Hyde on the Packers safety depth chart.
Should we be worried that Clinton-Dix is behind Hyde to start camp? Did the Packers take another lackluster player in the first round, one who isn’t even talented enough to start the season ahead of a converted corner on a team desperately in need of a competent safety?
Or should we celebrate that the safety position finally has some depth? If Hyde turns out to be good, wonderful! Play him ahead of Clinton-Dix while the rookie improves and learns the defense, waiting to seize his opportunity after an injury to a starter or because Morgan Burnett has another ineffective season.
I can see both sides, but the correct side is probably this: It’s way too early to tell. Yes, Hyde might look good at safety now, but let’s see where he stands after an exhibition game or two. Give Hyde some time to learn the defense, figure out his role and see what he can do when the ball is in the air during an actual game.
While the focus remains on Hyde vs. Ha Ha, don’t be surprised if it turns into a three-way dance with Burnett getting added to the match. The perception seems to be that Burnett is a lock as a starter, but if he resembles the stumbling and too-slow-to-react player we saw last season, his starting shot should be put up for grabs.
This is probably how the battle will play out: Hyde and Burnett are the starters with Hyde moving to the slot and Burnett coming in at safety in dime packages. Everybody wins — Hyde takes a major step forward, Clinton-Dix isn’t rushed into duty and Burnett has a chance to redeem itself.
Most importantly, the Packers defense gets better…hopefully.——————