Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: No. 21 Has Been Worn by Some Fine DBs in Green Bay
In the 2014 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the 21st pick in Round 1. It was very apropos then that the Packers gave the the former Alabama star the No. 21 to wear on his jersey.
Clinton-Dix will have a lot to live up to, especially since the last player to wear that number in Green Bay was Charles Woodson.
In a conference call with the media shortly after he was selected by the Packers, Clinton-Dix gave his thoughts on getting that number via Packers.com:
"I didn't pick it at all. They picked it for me. It's a good number to have. So I'm going to wear it with pride."
Clinton-Dix certainly has the ability to live up to the billing he will be getting with that number. In his last two seasons with the Crimson Tide, Clinton-Dix had 88 tackles, seven interceptions and 13 passes defended.
He's also been versatile. In 2012, Clinton-Dix played deeper in coverage for Alabama, while last season, he played closer to the line of scrimmage.
Nobody was more versatile than Woodson. And his performance and production in Green Bay were off the charts at times.
With that being said, let's take a look at Woodson and two other defensive backs who wore the No. 21 with pride, just like Clinton-Dix said he would.
Besides very solid play on the field, another common ingredient of the players in this slideshow is that they were all part of teams that would become Super Bowl champions.
As Packer Nation knows, general manager Ted Thompson does not play the free-agency game very often, but he sure hit gold when he signed Charles Woodson in 2006.
In his seven years in Green Bay, Woodson had 38 interceptions, nine of which were returned for touchdowns. Woodson averaged 66 tackles per season. He also had 11.5 sacks and 15 forced fumbles—one of which he recovered and returned for a touchdown. Overall, he had six fumble recoveries in Green Bay.
Woodson was also the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL in 2009 for the Packers.
The former Michigan Wolverine and Heisman Trophy winner was named All-Pro four times as a Packer and also was selected to four Pro Bowl squads.
No. 21 mostly played cornerback for the bulk of his career in Green Bay, but he also saw some time at safety in 2012. When the Packers played in their nickel defense, Woodson played the slot corner role as well as anyone in the NFL for a period of time.
Woodson was also part of the Green Bay team that won Super Bowl XLV.
Craig Newsome was selected by the Packers in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft out of Arizona State University. Newsome had a somewhat short career in Green Bay, but he added some badly needed stability to the position when general manager Ron Wolf drafted him.
Newsome played four years with the Packers, but one of those seasons was cut short immediately when Newsome suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening game of the 1997 season versus the Bears.
Overall in his career in Green Bay, Newsome had four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Newsome was also a very physical cornerback, who played the run well as he averaged almost 68 tackles a season.
Newsome was also very solid in the playoffs. In the 1995 postseason, in an NFC divisional playoff game against the 49ers in San Francisco, Newsome returned a fumble forced by linebacker Wayne Simmons 31 yards early in the game, as the Packers shocked the Niners 27-17. No. 21 also had a pick in that game.
In Super Bowl XXXI, Newsome had an interception and also forced a fumble. Overall in the postseason, Newsome had four picks, three of which were in the 1996 postseason.
Newsome was a member of the Green Bay team that won Super Bowl XXXI.
Cornerback Bob Jeter was the second player Vince Lombardi ever drafted. The Packers selected Jeter out of the University of Iowa in the second round of the 1960 NFL draft.
Like cornerback Herb Adderley, whom the Packers drafted in the first round in the 1961 NFL draft, Jeter was a running back in college. In fact, Jeter was named MVP of the 1959 Rose Bowl, when he rushed for 194 yards against Cal, as Iowa won 38-12.
Jeter played in the CFL for a couple of seasons for the BC Lions before joining the Packers in 1963. No. 21 didn't become a full-time starter until 1966, but in that season and the following season, Jeter and Adderley were the two best cornerbacks in the NFL.
In 1966 and 1967, Jeter had 13 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Overall in his career in Green Bay, Jeter had 23 picks.
The former Hawkeye was named All-Pro once and also went to two Pro Bowls.
Jeter was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1985.
Jeter was also part of three NFL championship squads, including the Green Bay teams that won the first two Super Bowls.