It shouldn't matter what it takes; Clinton-Dix needs to be a member of the Packers for the foreseeable future. That may sound like an overreaction or overstatement or over-whatever, but it's the absolute truth.
Today we're going to break down exactly why the Packers need to target Clinton-Dix in the 2014 NFL draft.
Lack of Safety Production
The reason the Packers need Clinton-Dix so badly is due to the fact that the safety position was easily, and without a doubt, the weakest position on the team during the 2013 season. Just look at the below statistics from starters Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required):
|Name||Overall Grade||NFL Rank||INTs||QB Rating|
Via Pro Football Focus
The fact that Burnett and Jennings failed to record a single interception this season is just ridiculous. Even worse is the average 143.9 quarterback rating when the ball was thrown their way. The reality is that neither Burnett nor Jennings deserves to be a starting safety in this league.
That may sound a little harsh, especially for Burnett, but the 2013 season proved that to be absolutely true. When passes were thrown Jennings' way, 88.9 percent of them were completed. As for Burnett, quarterbacks were able to complete 71.4 of the passes thrown his way. That's an unbelievably high number for starting safeties in the NFL.
Simply put, the Packers need fresh blood at the safety position. The lack of production from the safety position is what ultimately makes the Packers desperately need to draft Clinton-Dix.
Clinton-Dix is the premier safety of the 2014 NFL draft. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller says that Clinton-Dix is a first-round talent:
Reports this morning that Timmy Jernigan, Cyrus Kouandjio and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will enter 2014 draft. All rank as 1st round talents.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 9, 2014
Furthermore, CBS Sports' Rob Rang had this to say about the strengths of Clinton-Dix:
Clinton-Dix changes directions fluidly and accelerates smoothly. He reads the quarterback's eyes well and breaks on the ball, showing a late burst to close downhill. He has plus hands for the interception and shows vision and natural open-field running skills with the ball in his hands. Clinton-Dix anticipates the run well, attacking the line of scrimmage to make some impressive stops up close.
Read over that paragraph one more time and try to tell me that those aren't the exact traits that Green Bay needs at the safety position. Clinton-Dix can make plays in the passing game, he's solid against the run, and he doesn't consistently make mistakes.
Just look at this interception by Clinton-Dix against Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray last year:
That interception came with the game tied late in the second quarter when the Bulldogs were driving down the field. He watched the quarterback's eyes while playing like a center fielder before showing great hands to come out with the interception.
The Packers should be salivating at the mouth to add a player like Clinton-Dix to their roster because he's exactly what their defense needs.