Getting a Safety Like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Was Step 1 for the Packers

Bob FoxContributor IMay 9, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08:  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of the Alabama Crimson Tide poses with a jersey after he was picked #21 overall by the Green Bay Packers during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

When it came to the first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers last night, I figured the Pack would walk away with either a linebacker or a safety.

If the Packers had any interest in drafting either Ryan Shazier or C.J. Mosley in the first round last night, those hopes were quashed when both linebackers were selected before the Packers had their selection with pick No. 21.

Shazier was picked by the Steelers with pick No. 15, while Mosley was selected by the Ravens with pick No. 17.

More drama was added when safety Calvin Pryor was selected by the Jets with pick No. 18.

But sometimes things just fall right for teams, and the Packers were very relieved to see safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix still on the board when it was their time to pick.

The Packers gladly selected the former Alabama star, and they envision that he will bring some consistency and production at the safety position which is badly needed.

General manager Ted Thompson was more than happy to select the former Crimson Tide star as he described his play via

"I think it's the fact that he's all-around. There's not a lot of holes in him. We think that's good. And I think he's got really good ball skills."

In a mock draft I did shortly after the NFL Scouting Combine, I had the Packers selecting Clinton-Dix in the first round.

I've talked with scout Chris Landry a number of times about Clinton-Dix, and this was his take on him in January:

"Clinton-Dix is the best of the bunch (safeties). He's got really good size. I think he's got good range. I think he's physical and I think he's got the ability to make plays on the ball."

Then in March, I asked Chris to compare Clinton-Dix with Pryor:

I think the difference between Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, I think both are outstanding. Both will be really good players. I think Clinton-Dix is a little more rangy in coverage and Pryor is a little more physical coming down the hill in defending the run. The both can play free (safety), but I think Clinton-Dix has a little bit more range. It's really what you are looking for. Pryor does a good job of playing deep, but coming down hill a little bit better than Clinton-Dix defending the run. Both can latch-on to cover or slide-cover the tight end. They can stay on the field in the nickel. Both are very good. I expect them to go high (in the 2014 NFL draft), but I think Clinton-Dix's range is a little bit better. 

Besides the fact that Landry had Clinton-Dix at the top of his board at safety, so did NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock, who ranked Clinton-Dix as his top safety.

Bottom line, the Packers have to feel very good about whom they added to the roster last night.

Tonight is the night to add even more talent to the roster. The Packers have three picks this evening. One in the second round (pick No. 53) and two in the third round (picks No. 85 and No. 98).

My guess is that the Packers will try to fortify these positions tonight: tight end, wide receiver, center and inside linebacker. With their three picks, the Packers can only help out three positions this evening.

It might be a case of letting the best player fall to them similar to what happened last night. Or perhaps Thompson will trade up, which has been a regular part of his modus operandi the last few drafts.

Thompson has traded up six times in the last five drafts, so if he sees a player he thinks would help the Packers, he won't have any fear of pulling the trigger.

Players that the Packers might be interested in selecting tonight include tight end Troy Niklas of Notre Dame, linebacker Chris Borland of Wisconsin, wide receiver Allen Robinson of Penn State and center Weston Richburg of Colorado State.

Time will tell what will happen tonight in Round 2 and Round 3 for the Packers, but selecting Clinton-Dix in the first round last night was a positive step in the right direction.