Closer Examination of the Packers Picks on Defense (with video)

New Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
New Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Well kids it is over, the draft has finished. Ted Thompson has done something he has never done before in the draft, he didn’t make a trade. I am a bit shocked by that.   From all my research and reading in the post draft hullabaloo, I see the usual bitching, the fan GM’s crying that I would have taken this or that player, this one was rated higher, could have got that player later. And my favorite, the post draft “grade”, which has about as much NFL relevance as what I had for dinner last night.

But overall I like this draft, and the players taken. I don’t really care where a player was drafted or signed. I look at the tools the player has, how they fit the Packers and how they might project into the future for the Packers, that is really what the draft is all about.

I really have got to laugh at what I have read about the first pick from the fan GM’s and some of the Draftniks. Not exceptional at anything, not fast enough, not a big hitter well you know the drill.

HaHa Clinton-Dix was rated the #1 safety in the draft.  And no position got more play by fans leading up to the draft.  Clinton-Dix is the most complete and ready to play in the NFL safety in the draft. He does every thing well, coverage deep,  can play quarters, thirds, half of the field along with at the line, yes he can cover in the slot. What I like most is his size at 6’1 and change 208#, He had a 1.60 ten yard time, better then Pryor and just a tic slower then Jimmy Ward at 1.58 who is 5–10 and 198# and which the 49er’s are going to use as a slot corner.

Clinton-Dix had a 4.58 40 time, far from blazing but not slow by any means either.

Clinton-Dix also had a better short shuttle then Pryor and Ward, Pryor and Ward both had better 3 cone drill.

Clinton-dix also had a longer arms and a wider wing span then the other two.  As I stated IMO the best all around safety in the draft and the most NFL ready. The following video shows both good and bad.



The next defensive pick has had a lot wrote about it. And when you look at the so called rankings it deserves discussion, but after I did some research, this pick is making a lot more sense to me. And when I watched what video was available I liked the pick even more.

He can play all the spots along the defensive line and has done that. When you watch video you see what the Packers liked.  And I premise that with what I think they are going to do on defense. Gone are Pickett and Jolly, Raji is being moved back to NT and is going to used as more of a penetrator/one gap player there. And when you read this Bottom line on Thorton it makes sense.

Bottom Line

Has the size, brute strength and enough agility to warrant interest as a developmental, rotational five-technique in an aggressive, zone-blitzing scheme such as the Jets, Ravens or Steelers. Versatility is a plus.

When you compare him to this type Defensive linemen taken before and after he offers more flexibility along the Defensive line and physically he matches up very well with any of the picks n the DT group.

Thorton is 6-3 304# ran a 5.0 40, That is fast for a big man, but I liked his 1.77 ten yard, with 28 reps at 225# he has strength.  I think he can play a one gap NT, 3 Technique and two gap 3-4 DE. The video I have been able to find shows Excellent quickness off the ball, VERY quick feet and change of direction with nice closing speed in tight areas and in pursuit.


Lets look at the 4th round Linebacker from Arizona Carl Bradford. Now this pick might have caused more bitching then any I have read. But that comes from the they should have taken a ILB crowd. I think he is going to be looked at inside and outside. Can get on the field right away outside, slide inside in different packages and even put his hand on the ground. Very productive player, 20.5 sacks and 20 TKL in the last two years, add eight batted passes, an two interceptions with one returned for TD and 6 forced fumbles over that time and you have a very interesting player. Ended up in the 4th round because of his size at 6’ and change at 250#.  He has great instincts, reads and reacts well.

At 6’ and 250# he ran a 4.71 forty, had a 1.68 ten yard with 4.30 short shuttle and a 7.25 three cone drill with a very explosive 37.5” vertical jump.

What I found interesting is his Bottom line, when you read the last line and see the same as Thorton, it makes you think good thoughts about the Packer defense in 2014, specially with the addition of Peppers. I will add Mike Mayock thought Bradfords best use would be as a 3-4 ILB.

Bottom Line

An undersized college defensive end, Bradford projects to outside linebacker in a 3-4 front in the pros, where his physical dimensions and rush ability are best suited. Would profile best in an aggressive, one-gapping odd front such as the Colts, Jets, Ravens or Steelers.



You would think at 6’ and 250 he would not be a very fluid athlete, but he moves very well.



Just for fun


Last but not least the 6th round pick Demetri Goodson CB Baylor. 5-11 197#.  4.45 40 time at the combine with a 1.59 ten yard.  Not the greatest 20 yard shuttle at 4.30 but a very good 6.80 three cone drill. Can play press coverage and off. Excellent back petal and fluid hips to turn and run. Quick feet. He can play both sides at CB.



Combine video, you see the quick feet, good change of direction and fluid hips in transition.



The biggest jump in the Packers defense is going to come from players like Jones, Worthy, Perry all injured and will be healthy going into 2014, the question is can they stay healthy. You add Hayward coming back, Hyde in his second year. Boyd in his second year and I think a different style of 3-4 defense for this year with the addition of Peppers and I like what the Packers can do.


49 thoughts on “Closer Examination of the Packers Picks on Defense (with video)

  1. I guess Hyde will still be moved to safety.Therefore,it sets up a very interesting competition. A very good problem to have and also might wake up Burnie.

  2. I am very much a “time will tell” kind of draft guy but I did like this draft. Others have concern with the 3rd round in particular but if the team thinks someone has good upside, you have to get them when you get them. If they work out, no one will care when you picked them. Hyde is good because he’s a good player, not because he’s a 5th round pick. — I love the Adam’s pick. I believe he will be really good. I was not a Clinton-Dix fan (or any of the early safeties) but I understand the value/need equation there. – The overall health of the defense is going to be the most crucial moving forward, as well as the development of Jones/Worthy/Perry. If those 3 take the right steps, this D will be good, regardless of this draft. GoPack!

    1. I actually expect that they’ll move to packages that are quasi-dime where they’ll replace a LB with Hyde to cover TEs and RB in obvious passing situations. He’ll essentially be giving the Packers a third safety on the field.

      1. How about this, with Peppers, Perry/Neal/Mulumba,Bradford, will might see Matthews at ILB too. He did slide there a few times last year.
        Maybe Bradford and Matthews as ILB’s with Perry and Peppers at OLB, Jones and Daniels with there hands on the ground.

  3. Al – thanks for the additional information and insights into the Packers defensive picks. This shows why the professionals are being paid to do the scouting and drafting, etc… And why the draftnics, alledged pundits and airheads are on TV, while others are criticizing TT (as usual) without any facts or information. The draft is a crapshoot, we understand, but at least we have some idea of why the Packers made the selections they did. Time will tell, but I like this draft more and more over time. Keep’em healthy and Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

  4. ILB is the heart of any defense. It doesn’t matter how healthy we are or how much we improve our play at other positions. If we get mediocre play out of iBL we will lose again to the 49ers or the Seahawks when the playoffs come around.

    I hope Bradford or Joe Thomas or someone else steps up now and upgrades our play at IBL. Until I see that happen, though, I will carry with me a certain empty feeling I have about this draft.

    Three wide receivers..? I realize we couldn’t take Mosley or Shazier, and I know many Packer fans are happy about drafting Abbrederis. However, that pick could have used to draft Lamin Barrow, the ILB from LSU. Personally, I would be feeling better right now if TT would have done that then draft three wide receivers.

    1. I have to apologize. Going back over my notes of the draft, Lamin Barrow was drafted by Denver earlier in the same round that the Packers drafted Abredderis. My mistake.

      However, that brings us back to the 3rd round… Richard Rodgers is not better than Quarless. If we took Rodgers in the 5th round or not at all, it wouldn’t be a problem. And we could have used that 3rd round pick instead on ILB Khairi Fortt.

      I know many people are going to not like it that fans complain about the draft. But TT isn’t big on FAs and doesn’t trade outside the draft. He maintains a firm policy on “draft and develop.”

      Well, we just went through the draft and if we have a weakness at ILB than we should have drafted one to develop. That’s all I’m saying.

      1. Richard Rodgers wasn’t drafted to be better than Quarless this year. He was drafted to be better than Stoneburner, a better receiver than Ryan Taylor, a better blocker than Brian Bostick, and healthier plus at a lower salary than Jermichael Finley.

        Rodgers doesn’t need to be better than Quarless until 2016 (2017 if Q-man has a 3 year contract), though there is every hope he will contribute before then.

        As for developing an ILB, wehave Barrington and plus 4 more undrafted guys including Hubbard, who should have been drafted. Is there an equivalent amount of undrafted talent available at TE? Seems like that answer is no.

        I understand nobody likes to shop at the discount store, but the NFL talent acquisition budget is limited by definition, and sometimes that is the only way to afford *everything* you need.

        1. I understand what you’re saying. But in 2013 the Packers ranked 25th in defense. Dix will help and IF everyone is healthy and plays up to their potential we’ll be much better.

          However, ILB is the heart of the defense. We’ve had mediocre play from that position for the last several years and if we do not improve our play there, better teams like S.F and Seattle will exploit that weakness when the playoffs come around. Our defense must improve and we won’t have a truly effective defense unless we get better ILBing play.

          So who do we draft? Three wide receivers and a back-up TE. Look, I don’t want to be negative. But we have a problem at ILB and IMO we could have done a better job of addressing our need for a ILB through the draft.

          Now that the draft is over, all we can do is hope that Bradford or Joe Thomas or someone else steps up and upgrades that position.

          1. Amen jh. Amen.

            I hope Rodgers grows into a force at TE. I really do. But a TE that is too heavy to split the seam isn’t helpful. Or if he drops the weight, he’s too light to block DE/OLBs. Also not helpful.

            Plenty of ILB’s were there in round 3 that could have given us some depth. I feel about the ILB position like I did about the FS position last year – and that’s not good. I hope the guys we have can step up – but where’s the evidence?

            I see another year of sucking between the numbers again…

          2. Gotta respectfully disagree on the notion that “ILB is the heart of the defense.” I suppose that’s true if you’re talking about their physical location on the field (or if it’s still 1982), but I’d say that it’s definitely NOT true in terms of their importance to modern-day defenses. More than that, I would contend that ILB is actually the LOWEST priority in today’s NFL defenses.

            IMO, the priority list for defenses is as follows:

            1) Pass rushers
            2) Cover guys
            3) More pass rushers
            4) More cover guys
            5) Everybody else

            If you look at basic position groups in a 3-4 defense (DT, DE, OLB ILB, C, S), which group would ILB take priority over? I’d say, “None.”

            Middle linebackers aren’t as dead as fullbacks… but they’re getting there. If you have to skimp somewhere, do it at ILB.

  5. Al,
    Its me, I’m raising my hand. Yes,I have bitched. I’m in that group complaining about the ILB and safety weaknesses over past 2 years. I’m not a GM yet. Admittedly more like a passionate fan, still with my opinions. But, if you’ve got a workforce with a obvious weakness; then deal with it. I was impressed last year; Bam! 2 running backs: Bam! 2 OLineman. Whoa. Impressed.
    This year; impressed by Safety pick. Not by ILB pick. Yeah, this armchair GM would have done a Bam-job on the ILB and Safety, even if I had to trade up in Rd 2. Why? Because of deep WR class, why devote Rd 2 pick to WR when good value down deep. In fact, GB did get good picks deep. So…see? That’s why I bitch. I’ll humbly crawl down from my Bitch-perch if Bradford lights fire in middle of that field…but until then…I ain’t seen enough done there.

    1. I’d count Bradford as more of an OLB than ILB. I also understand that they had a lot on prospects for WR but I also think we will be watching Adams become the next Greg Jennings/Jordy Nelson. Given the Qb we have, they could not pass on that level of talent at WR.

      1. LOVE the Adams pick, 131 catches last year, over 1,700 yards, and 24TD’s, that is just nuts.
        Al will post a piece like this one I did on the offensive picks soon.
        I will add another on UDFA’s soon after that.

    2. This from JSOnline regarding Bradford:

      ““People can’t see the lion roaring inside of me,” Arizona State’s Carl Bradford said after being drafted by the Green Bay Packers. “I can’t cry about my height. I can’t cry about how long my arms are. I control what I can control and that’s my effort.””

      That kind of play can be infectious. Sometimes it’s all about an attitude change, which is why I was hoping to see Pryor slide rather than Dix. This could be the next-best thing.

      1. Pryor to me was more in the box guy then coverage, After watching what TE’s have done to the Packers the last few years, I like Clinton-Dix’s abiltiy to cover a lot more then Pryor, specially with him being over 6’1″ and 208#.

    3. I respect your honesty. I too was frustrated by the lack of a top ILB pick. I would of even felt better if Skov or Bullogh were picked in addition to Bradford.They’re solid tough sure tacklers. However, looking at it now there weren’t too many fleet of foot ILBs available and some of the later no name LB picks do have speed. The D will be deeper and this will provide insurance against injuries which was a big part of our defensive woes.

      1. Skov and Bullock were not even drafted.

        I am a fan of college OLB’s for the 3-4 ILB position, the one I wanted the most was Christian Kirksey out of Iowa I think he was the best coverage Linebacker in the draft.
        Lamin Barrow and Avery Williamson would have been interesting picks too.

        1. Far more important for the ILB’s in this scheme to be sure tacklers at the LOS than to cover.

          Ideally, you’d like both, of course. But when push comes to shove, as an ILB in Dom’s 3-4, you need to shut down the running lanes in between the the tackles or the entire defense gets stressed.

          1. I disagree, some what, Yes they have to be sure tacklers at the LOS, that is a qiven. But the changes to the passing game, 3 wr sets with 2 te’s or one te and a RB all running routes, 4 wr sets, 4 wr’s and a TE, the second level HAS to be able to cover and today I think it is just as important or even more so.

            1. I should clarify I’m speaking about ILBs for our base 3-4 defense to function. Run integrity up the middle is priority #1 which everything kind of builds off of.

              If we’re seeing empty sets trot out onto the field, I don’t want to see 4 LBs on the field.. And I’d probably like to see CMIII as one of the LBs in nickle, or the lone LB in dime. Mostly, empty backfields I’d prefer to see Hyde or an extra safety on the field in lieu of a LB.

  6. What encourages me about the defensive side of this draft is that the Packers selected ‘pure’ position players — Clinton-Dix is a pure all-tools safety, not a slow cornerback or undersized inside linebacker. Thornton is a pure attacking 3-4 DL, not a run-stuffer they will have to teach how to penetrate, and Bradford played as a 3-4 linebacker, standing up and dropping back as well as putting his hand down and blitzing (the so-called pundits who talk about him as a DE tweener apparently didn’t bother to actually watch any game tape.)

    All three positions are ones that the Packers need to have ‘pure’ players. The addition of Peppers in FA creates a critical mass at the ‘hybrid’ OLB/end position that makes the ‘Blitzburgh’ scheme work. I can’t say how good the rookies will be or how much they will add this season (the bigger imptrovemnt has to come from Perry, Datone Jones, Worthy, Boyd, and Barrington) but I think they will be a lot of fun to watch for I hope a good long time.

    1. Agree about the “pure” position players. And don’t forget to add Linsley to that list. I think the battle at center between him and Tretter is going to very interesting to watch.

    2. Bradford played some ILB also. So it would not be a completely new spot for him.
      With his instincts He will be fun player to watch.

    3. Thorton most assuredly is a run stuffer.

      In fact, that’s pretty much all he does, is shut down the running game.

      And while he definitely penetrates to do so- hence his high number of TFL’s- he is not a very productive pass rusher.

      1. Did you even watch the film?

        Look, when you are the best player on your team, the opponents will always double you and that becomes your role. Hard for Thornton to spin away for sacks when the other guys would rather let guys come in unblocked than take a chance on single blocking him. But he still wound up getting ‘blocked out’ of plays *5 yards past the line of scrimmage.*

        Think about it.

        I’ll grant you the level of competition and the rawness of Thornton’s game. He may not pan out in the pros. Heck, any given drafted player in the whole league may blow out for any number of reasons. But TT drafted this kid because he *attacks,* because he wasn’t going to be there for us to pick in the 4th and TT thought Bradford would be.

        1. Yeah, I have watched the film on him. A lot of it, too.

          You said he’s not a run stuffer.

          Facts are, that’s exactly what he is.

          Just because you’ve decided to place some negative connotation on that term, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

          This kid’s production was mostly in the run game. I’m not extrapolating on why that is. Apparently, you are, and you’re taking offense. Not much I can do about that.

          1. half a sack in college football last year doesn’t exactly spell pass rusher, it smells of one dimensional run stuffer, which seems even odder when the Packers brass talk about him adding “Juice” to their group, juice and “twitch” would indicate to me that the player has pass rush skills so I don’t know what to make of this pick honestly. I know he isn’t fast enough to contain Kaepernick so does it really matter if your down lineman runs a 5.2 or a 4.9???

            1. Few players at any position are going to run down Kaepernick from behind. What Thorton gives you is a disruptive gasp spliting presence, making a RB or in your example a QB HAVE to move.
              Making the RB miss his blocking keys, Making a scrambling QB loop instead of hitting a hole.
              It really does not matter what his production was in college, what matters is the physical skills he has and how it can be used within the Packers system. Few players can come off the ball like that,and few can as they say get skinny and penetrate a gap like that, you add his quick feet and change of direction he can be very disruptive.

    4. Hard to call Bradford a pure OLB given his size limitations. I’d say he’s built like an ILB except those enney weeny arms. 30″? Those are dinosaur arms. His hands don’t reach into his pockets. Guys will easily elude him.

  7. I’m also someone who has said that he wished a true ILB was on the docket last weekend. Much like a baseball team, we can envision defense as being built from the middle out…a good ILB, to me, would be much more likely to be an impact player as a rookie than a safety, although the safety play for the Packers last year was poor enough that this is debatable.

    Still, we can’t ignore two things…
    1. …the Packers will play so many situational and sub packages that it’s not likely that more than one ILB will be needed very often. In essence, they’re turning into a hybrid 3-4/4-3 team, and I’ll be curious to see just how much base they ever play.
    2. …many of the complaints against the ILB are rooted in downfield tackling and coverage skills. The addition of Peppers and Guion, and the shedding Pickett and Jolly in favor of Mike Daniels type, quicker DL likely will improve the line play, which will make the ILB look better in run defense. While this doesn’t immediately fix the coverage deficiencies, it should improve the push from the DL and cut down on the time opposing QBs will have to look for slow-developing underneath routes.
    3. …putting Peppers on the field will take someone not named Matthews off the field. Isn’t that a win-win?

    1. “Still, we can’t ignore two things…”

      …nor can I count to two, apparently.

      1. Well said. I’m also concerned about the return game and hope someone shines.In contrast,I Can’t wait for the preseason. It’s going to be very interesting because there’s competition in all facets!

          1. Janis looks faster than his blazing time on the vid highlights if thats possible, maybe its the slowness of the defenders lol

    1. LOL , I wrote the piece. What did I have? A homemade philly steak sandwich, Hot peppers and some genoa thrown in too with sharp cheddar.

  8. I have made my thoughts known on the 3rd round picks. I am not a professional football talent evaluator. I hope like crazy I’m wrong.

    You have to think GB is going to a 1 gap scheme on the DL with the addition of Peppers and Perry/Neal at elephant and Bradford as well as Thornton and Worthy as more penetrating (read traditional 43 DT) guys.

    Maybe a hybrid 34/43 D?

    1. The fact that they are using an ‘elephant’ position pretty much definews what they are doing as a hybrid.

      The 1 gap is actually closer to the ‘Blitzburgh’ original Capers learned from Lebeau. Now if the defensive backs only work out well enough (and stay healthy enough) to let us zone blitz.

    2. Hybred all the way, and as someone else said, more like the earlier versions of the Packers current defense with the Steelers.
      Ravens do a lot of different fronts.
      We might see loading up a side, with Safeties, CB’s LB’s.
      Or a unbalanced front with the DE playing the nine gap and there hand down(Peppers}.
      One of the OLB’s in the 7 spot, use anyone of the bigger OLB’s, and Jones for this example in the 5 spot or head up on the OG.
      Having watched Peppers for a while now, you really need to look at his pass defense stats, very good.
      And after watching a all the video I could find on him after he was signed I have NO doubt of what he can do, standing up, hand on the ground and even sliding inside now and then.

      This is Peppers playing out of the Nine Spot.

      Now add any of the OLB or OLB/DE types, At the 7 gap,

      Daniels in the 3 or head up on the OG.

      Just for fun. Anyone that can do this, with someone like Peppers, in any combination is going to be such fun to watch.

  9. good take Cory. I complain alot but I always root for the picks to make it even if I have my doubts.
    I think the most important defensive pick is last year’s first rounder, if Datone can make the jump into a really good DE everything else will look so much better.

    1. I like what Timoneey said twice. Its not just about this years draft class.

  10. I liked Deone Bucannon better than Dix because he is bigger and faster with great ball skills. MM said we want to get bigger and faster so why we didn’t get Bucannon I don’t know. I’m concerned about Dix’s speed. Hubbard will be a force. Dude is big, long and fast. Being from Alabama and getting his degree I hope he’s sharp enough to pick up the scheme because he can really help us at ILB.

  11. I would have been happy with either.
    I give Clinton-Dix the edge in coverage playing quarters and thirds.
    Both seem equal at the LOS.
    Deep single safety, Bucannon’s speed make’s a big difference there.
    My thinking is, Clinton-Dix will be better on the TE crossing routes and RB out of the Back field, and Bucannon better deep center field.

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