Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fell right into the Packersâ€™ laps.
Green Bay was widely considered to take outside linebacker Ryan Shazier or inside linebacker C.J. Mosley but when both were off the board, Clinton-Dix became the obvious choice.
Clinton-Dix is perfect because heâ€™s fearless. Heâ€™s fearless about prowling near the line of scrimmage and disrupting the running game. Heâ€™s fearless about punishing receivers over the middle and he needs to be fearless about slowing down Green Bayâ€™s kryptonite â€” the 49ers read option.
In 11 games for Alabama this past season, Clinton-Dix had 30 solo tackles and 3Â½ tackles for a loss. Those are solid numbers for a linebacker, let alone a safety. He will not back down from the line of scrimmage and thatâ€™s exactly what the Packers need after hemorrhaging over 370 yards a game on defense this past year.
At 6-foot-1, heâ€™s big enough to cover the taller, rangy receivers the Packers see twice a year in 6-foot-5 Calvin Johnson, 6-foot-4 Brandon Marshall and 6-foot-3 Alshon Jeffery.
Despite Nick Sabanâ€™s reign of college football supremacy, his former standouts have struggled as defensive backs. Guys like cornerback Dee Milliner, who was taken 9th overall by the Jets in 2013, safety Mark Barron, 7th overall by the Buccaneers in 2012, and Dre Kirkpatrick, 17th overall by the Bengals in 2012.
Yet, Clinton-Dix, who should start opposite of Morgan Burnett, will flourish in a defense that was similar to what he used to in Tuscaloosa.
This was a great need pick. Of course general manager Ted Thompson will never admit to picking for a need but it filled a hole nonetheless.
The Packers have the 21st selection (53rd overall) in the second round and the 21st (85th overall) and 34th selections (98th overall) in the third round tonight.
My first pick is Southern Cal center Marcus Martin. The versatile interior lineman would be a great fit to challenge J.C. Tretter at center. My next pick is Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland. Undersized at 6-feet, but his ball-hawking instincts are stuff of legend.