Green Bay Packers: Ted Thompson’s top 30 draft picks of all-time
14. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Ray’s pick)
Many laughed at Ha Ha Clinton-Dix when the Packers drafted the safety out of Alabama two springs ago.
By his first season’s end, he was the one doing the laughing.
And he’s continued to laugh.
With his addition to the back end of the Packers defensive backfield, the team was immediately improved his rookie year. He started slowly, taking bad angles and missing tackles in the early weeks of the 2014 season.
But then he found a groove, started showing that he could indeed tackle and wasn’t afraid to either play in the box or stick his head into piles to take down ball carriers.
Drafted by the Packers in the first round (21st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, Clinton-Dix played in all 16 games, starting 10 regular season contests and the team’s two playoff games.
Though he had only one interception during the regular season, it was his tenacity in bringing ball carriers to the ground that endeared him quickly to the Packers faithful.
In all, he posted 74 solo tackles and added 31 assists. He also had a sack.
Though Pro Football Focus ranked him at that time as the 61st of the 87 safeties in the NFL that season, his addition to the Packers secondary was important not only for his own growth, but it made everyone, especially Morgan Burnett, that much better.
So, it’s not so much the individual effect that was so important, but his cumulative effect that made the defense that much better.
It all came to a head in the NFC Championship Game for Clinton-Dix. His two interceptions illustrated how far he had come in the season, but it was his inability to knock down the two-point duck that was thrown by Russell Wilson that will be the lasting image we have of Clinton-Dix in that first season.
That was until 2015 when he continued to show vast improvement in his game.
Again, he played in every game last year, posting 82 tackles, 17 assists, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, two interceptions and three sacks.
Clinton-Dix surely showed he belonged as he continued to show a toughness and consistency that helped make the Packers defense – especially the team’s defensive backfield – one of the best in the league.
Clinton-Dix’s upside surely makes his selection by Ted Thompson an important one. There’s a wide open road ahead for Clinton-Dix. One that I, for one, am excited about watching unfold.
Next: No. 14 (Freddie's pick)