After grading all nine of the Green Bay Packers draft picks, the debate shifts to which pick was the best. Of course, we won’t really know who the best pick is until 3-4 years from now, but everyone loves to overreact before the rookies have even gone through OTAs.
I’m also not a fan of assessing the best pick this early because there are so many variables that go into evaluating a draft pick. A couple of years from now we can see what pro bowlers were passed on and well, most importantly, if the player is even still on the team.
With that said, this seems pretty simple. The Green Bay Packers did not have a dependable starting safety, so they went and drafted one in the first round. General Manager Ted Thompson loves to insist that he looks to draft the best player available, rather than based on positional needs. Thompson was able to accomplish both when arguably the best safety in the draft fell right into his lap. His next few picks may indicate otherwise (Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers and Khyri Thornton), but with the loss of James Jones, Jermichael Finley and the need for athleticism on the defensive line, Thompson appeared to be filling needs as the draft went along.
Clinton-Dix produced respectable numbers in his junior season with 51 tackles, two INTs, and four pass breakups. In his time at Alabama, Clinton-Dix proved to be a strong open-field tackler (something the Packers were terrible at in 2013) with great instincts once the ball is in the air. His combine results troubled some scouts when he only ran a 4.58 second 40-yard dash, but if he proves that he can take good angles when tracking the ball, this flaw can easily be masked.
The Packers were the only team in the NFL last year that did not have a safety record an interception, so here’s to hoping Clinton-Dix can change that problem. Also worth noting, each of the past three Packers’ Super Bowl appearances have come with a reliable playmaker at safety (Butler, Robinson, Sharper, and Collins), can Clinton-Dix add his name to that list?
Undrafted Free Agents Notes
– The Packers signed Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla on Monday. Lyerla’s resume is littered with red flags, culminating with a cocaine possession charge. If it seems unusual that the Packers would sign someone with huge red flags, it is. Thompson typically looks past guys like Lyerla who have a history of off-field distractions, but Lyerla’s talent is unmistakable as many scouts believed he had first-round talent.
– The Packers also signed linebacker Adrian Hubbard out of Alabama. Hubbard was overshadowed at times on a defense that produced 5 draft picks in 2014, but he has great size for a linebacker and should compete for a spot on the roster.