Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the perfect pick for the Packers

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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the 21st overall selection by the Packers. He had 51 total tackles for Alabama last year as a safety.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the 21st overall selection by the Packers. He had 51 total tackles for Alabama last year as a safety.

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.

Looking ahead

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


21 thoughts on “Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the perfect pick for the Packers

  1. Are the Falcons still willing to trade for Morgan Burnett? TT needs to pull the trigger on that one.

  2. I don’t think Saban’s defense is really at all similar to Caper’s, so I don’t know if that is a good comparison to draw on for why Haha might find success in Green Bay.

    1. May 8, 2014 10:49 pm
      Packers nab Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix
      by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
      With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Packers drafted Alabama safety Hasean Clinton-Dix . He’ll reunite with college teammate Eddie Lacy there.

      Standing at 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, Clinton-Dix can play either safety spot thanks to his hard-hitting ability as well as his sleek feet and range to cover against the pass. He had five interceptions in 2012 and two more in 2013.

      Clinton-Dix should end up starting next to Morgan Burnett in the Packers’ defensive secondary. He ran a similar style of defense at Bama.

  3. Sabens Safeties are excellent communicators, something that’s obviously has been lost since Collins was hurt and Clinton-Dix will be able to come in and do that. Personally I think it was the best pick the Packers could have hoped for, maybe even better than Shazier. When you have 0 interceptions as a unit over 17 games, the best Safety in the class falls to you, you better take him. Fills the #1 need, TT drafts the BPA, and he Packers defense will be better for it.

    1. Art, that would be Eddie Murphy’s son. Made him while filming Beverly Hills Cop. Hence the name Ha-Ha

  4. HHCD only needs to be a part of the puzzle. He doesn’t have to carry the secondary. He’s a very talented player, and if he is a good NFL safety our secondary will be one of the best in the league. Need & BAP met at 21 last night, and I think the Packers defense will be better for it.

    1. Totally agree. I didn’t think that Dix would make it to 21. He was the #1 rated safety in the draft by many of the analysts who I read prior to the draft. He can deliver a hit and he can make plays on the ball. He may not be Willie Wood or Nick Collins but if he is at least as good as Johnny Gray or George Teague we’ll be fine, especially if Hyde plays up to our expectations. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  5. I just watched highlights of Ha-Ha on you-tube. He made significant plays against Oklahoma. He got beat for a TD early and then played very well, especially against the run. He also had some nice plays against Texas A&M. Auburn not so much, but i heard that he left that after that game he had MCL surgery, so i bet that was a factor. He still recovered and was back for the bowl game vs OK and played very well.

    Great pick!!

    1. I was watching him during the Auburn game as well and was very unimpressed with a guy who was supposed to be the top safety in the draft. Looked timid and slow.

      Turns out he tore his meniscus a week before AND played on it which explains the bland game. Tough guy and his tape against A&M was impressive. Lots of room for growth too.

  6. We finally have someone that will lay some wood on the receivers. With the exception of Hyde, no one else in the backfield can tackle to save their life. I say Hyde and Ha-Ha on the field at the same time should instill some fear to the opposition.

  7. Nice article, until “looking ahead”. A center in the second round is nuts. Scott Wells and EDS proved that almost anyone can be a decent center. And Borland after that? Not only is he undersized at 6′, he’s actually only 5’11. At ILB? Then another O lineman? Yikes! Defense please, then WR/KR.

    1. Agreed. The Packers definitely have greater needs this year than a backup C/G & backup OT. TT will draft at least one O-Lineman later but I can’t see him pulling the trigger on one this early unless Moses or Bitonio plummet.

  8. I’m thrilled with this pick. BPA and Packers’ biggest need. Trading down would’ve been too risky for me. I honestly didn’t think Pryor or Clinton-Dix would be available at #21. With Shazier and Mosley gone, the choice was simple.

  9. I agree. Our safety position is a disaster and getting Dix is a blessing. There are no FA out there at safety worth picking up and 4 top safeties went in the first round. If TT would have traded back into the 2nd round, we would be screwed.

  10. Teddy had three options:

    (1) Take Dix;

    (2) Take Dennard; or,

    (3) Trade back.

    Easy to argue the greater talent is Dennard. Also easy to argue the extra R3 pick would have been well worth it. But, Dix was the choice and hopefully will be the glue for our secondary going forward, a role that seemed to intimidate Morgan Burnett.

    You have to wonder what this means for Micah Hyde. First they move him to a new position then they use their #1 pick on a player at that position. Maybe he will light a fire under Burnett.

    On to the offense tonight!

  11. Can’t help but feel the Packers were really really hoping that Shazier would be available at 21. Or if not Shazier – Mosley. They want to improve team speed, and unfortunately getting one of the slowest safeties in this draft doesn’t do it.

    Personally, I hate spending a first rounder on a safety, unless it’s near to bottom of the round. But it is what it is. Dix should be an improvement, but the Pack still have a lot of work to do on D.

  12. Tonight TT must be on his A game. Can’t afford to bury his head in the sand.

  13. I am happy with picking Dix at #21. Grade is A to A- (A if GB had gotten Mosley or Shazier; A+ if they had gotten someone who fell like Barr).

    Martin at #53 is about right for him, but I blame TT for any perceived need to draft a C that high for failing to resign EDS or bringing in a FA center cheap. There are too many other prospects graded higher that might be available at 53 to take Martin. I’d hate taking Martin if Moncrief was there. TT might have to lie on the bed he made (Tretter or Barclay). If GB wants to get bigger at C, then Martin or Swanson are possibilities.

    Borland at 85 is 20 spots too high, but given the lack of ILBs, he might get overdrafted. It would be a need pick. Good instincts, but is he better than Hawk or Jones? Dozier at #98 is about right. Not sure if he can play tackle or center. Nasty guy with good natural power despite bench pressing only 23 times. Needs work on pass pro. Developmental guy at OG or C.

    TT, please take talent over need!

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