Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6) tackles Oklahoma Sooners running back Brennan Clay (24) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Oklahoma defeated Alabama 45-31. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports photograph
The Green Bay Packers had a successful season as they overcame adversity and still found a way to get to the playoffs though they needed a lot of help from the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions.
The Packers have a major need at safety and Ted Thompson needs to make sure that he brings in a young player with big talent via the 2014 NFL Draft. The Packers have Morgan Burnett to do a solid job at one of the spots but the Packers really have a major need at the other side. The Packers will have to get a big time safety and there are two players in Alabama’s Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor who would both be very good fits.
Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6) pursues during the second half of a game against Oklahoma. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports photograph
In watching tape, Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix has stood out as a player that will immediately start at free safety somewhere in the league and make the impact the Packers desperately need. The Alabama safety had 2 interceptions this past season but he was the leader of an Alabama secondary for which he starred.
Clinton-Dix missed two games because of issues surrounding a loan from a coach – but that shouldn’t raise a red flag for anyone. Clinton-Dix seems to have great ball-hawking skills and some plays reminded me of former Baltimore Ravens’ star safety Ed Reed.
I personally think that Clinton-Dix is the top safety on the board but there are a few people who lean towards Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. Clinton-Dix seems likely to be a top 20 pick with teams like the St. Louis Rams, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Jets all being possible fits.
The Packers will likely have to make a deal to get a pick that could get them Clinton-Dix but they might be able to pull that off with the Rams who have traded down in recent years. Clinton-Dix would be a great guy to get for the Packers but a trade to move up and get him will cost Green Bay.
Louisville Cardinals safety Calvin Pryor waves his arms to the crowd in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals beat the Miami Hurricanes 36-9 to win the Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. David Manning-USA TODAY Sports photograph
There is one other talented safety who can definitely make an immediate impact in Green Bay – Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
Pryor also seems to profile as a free safety though his ability to come up the field and limit the gains of opposing running backs is quite impressive and could allow him to play strong safety.
Pryor also has decent range and does a good job at reading the quarterback and closing in on the potential receiver if that guy is near him. Pryor’s tape shows him as a leader that will make sure his teammates know the play. That indicates a certain level of maturity.
Pryor has been rising on draft boards with some ranking him ahead of Clinton-Dix though right now.
I see Pryor as the second best safety behind Clinton-Dix. Pryor is likely to be available when the Packers are on the clock with the 21st pick and seems likely to be the guy who could end up with the Cowboys, especially since Clinton-Dix might be gone by the time Dallas is on the clock. It seems likely that Pryor will be available for Green Bay at the 21st pick which would be very good for a Green Bay defense that needs another quality safety like Pryor.
Pryor would be a great addition for Green Bay and he seems likely to be playing home games at Lambeau Field in 2014. Pryor has also said he would love to be picked by the Packers in a Q&A with Lombardi Ave’s own Dan Dahlke.