With their first-round pick (21st overall) in the 2014 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix
Seven interceptions in 38 games with the Crimson Tide. … 100 career tackles. … First-team All-American in 2013. … Third-team All-American in 2012. … Earned playing time as a true freshman. … Tore his meniscus before playing Auburn senior season, but was back a month later for the Sugar Bowl. … Played running back in high school.
4.58 40 yard dash, 11 reps on the bench, 2.68 10yd split, 78.5-inch wing span, 33-inch vertical, 9 foot, 11-inch broad jump, 7.16 3-cone, 4.16 20yd shuttle.
A solid all-around safety, Clinton-Dix can play “center field,” cover the slot, tackle and contest jump balls with big wide receivers. He’s also tough. Following a standout sophomore season, Clinton-Dix battled a knee injury last season and still performed well. After having surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Dec. 2, he returned a month later and chased around Oklahoma Sooners in the Sugar Bowl to record six tackles, two for a loss. Clinton-Dix’s 40-yard dash time doesn’t stand out, but spend a few minutes watching him on tape and it’s obvious he plays faster than his 40-time reflects. Clinton-Dix wasn’t an intimidating hitter at Alabama, but in today’s NFL, teams want pass coverage over a guy who makes highlight-reel hits. He’s also a little small, which could cause problems against tight ends or the likes of Brandon Marshall or Calvin Johnson in the NFC North.
It’s been three years since Nick Collins’ career ended prematurely and the Packers have yet to recover at safety. With Collins gone, opposing teams have encountered little resistance throwing over the top against the Packers. Ditto for deep corner passes or seam routes to tight ends.
Oh, and Packers safeties haven’t done much to support the run defense and cover for slow-footed A.J. Hawks and not-quite-good enough Brad Jones.
Enter the guy with the funny name, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Safety was obviously the Packers most gaping hole and general manager Ted Thompson tried to fill it with Clinton-Dix. With Ryan Shazier, C.J. Mosley and Calvin Pryor gone, Clinton-Dix was the most obvious pick for the Packers.
I think Clinton-Dix is a good player and will help the Packers, but I didn’t have any safeties in this draft graded as a first-rounder. It wouldn’t surprise me if Thompson felt the same and tried to trade the pick.
But let’s not get into trades that may or may not have been discussed, or subjective grades that range all over the place. Clinton-Dix appears to be a good football player and the Packers desperately need good football players at safety.
Put Clinton-Dix next to Morgan Burnett and let’s see if the Packers safeties finally take a major step forward this season.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .