Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fell right into the Packers’ 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 he’s fearless. He’s fearless about prowling near the line of scrimmage and disrupting the running game. He’s fearless about punishing receivers over the middle and he needs to be fearless about slowing down Green Bay’s kryptonite — the 49ers read option.
In 11 games for Alabama this past season, Clinton-Dix had 30 solo tackles and 3½ 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 that’s exactly what the Packers need after hemorrhaging over 370 yards a game on defense this past year.
At 6-foot-1, he’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 Saban’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.
My final pick of the day is Furman left tackle Dakota Dozier. Like former Packers center Scott Wells, Dozier is a former wrestler. And since leverage is so key in winning the battle up front, that could help not only win a job, but also help him see playing time.
My projected second and third round picks for the Packers: 53. Marcus Martin, 85. Chris Borland and 98. Dakota Dozier.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn