The Packers have been quiet like they usually are during the free agency period. Green Bay has approached the free agency period just about the same way as years passed under Ted Thompson; bring back their own, and practically ignore what else is going on in the NFL world. Corner Sam Shields was priority number one, signing him to a four year, $39 million dollar deal. Arguably the most productive player in Green Bay’s secondary, it was almost a must for Thompson to bring Shields back. Make no mistake about it though, the Packers still have a lot of work to do yet on defense. The pass rush has been inconsistent, Clay Matthews hasn’t played a full season since 2009, and their defensive secondary vulnerability was on full display throughout the season. It has been quite awhile since the Pack has had a play maker at the safety position, and could use one desperately.
Even though in almost every other experts mock drafts have Ha Ha Clinton-Dix being selected earlier in the round, the NFL Draft Daily thinks that pick number 21 is just about right for the Alabama product. The Packers would be doing their secondary a complete dis justice if they pass on the best safety in the draft. Dix didn’t have the most productive season last year, but his potential just screams off the charts. He’s a tall lanky safety, whom has possibly the best coverage skills out of any safety in the draft. His run support on defense could be a little bit better, and wrapping up on his tackling has to be improved. Playing in a division with running backs like Matt Forte, Reggie Bush, and former MVP, Adrian Peterson; his tackling game must be on point. The league has turned favorably into a passing league though, making Dix the best possible prospect available for the Packers.
Heck, Green Bay might draft two safeties when the NFL draft comes in May. They have talked about moving Micah Hyde to the safety position, would like to think the move woul possibly be to the free safety position, leaving the strong safety spot wide open for the taking. Someone like Lamarcus Joyner could man the position for the Packers. Joyner has plenty of experience playing close to the line of scrimmage. Blitzing off the edge, covering the slot wide receiver, and supporting the run; Joyner has excelled at each phase of the game for Florida State, despite his stature. Other reports have the Packers showing interest in some defensive outside linebacker prospects, quite specifically Trent Murphy. Green Bay needs another edge rusher to take the heat off Matthews and Murphy would be expected to do so with possibly a second round pick.
The Packers use the draft as their main tool to creating the franchise they have today. Drafting and resigning their own is their motto and will continue to be that way under Thompson. The offense is ready to make a push towards another Super Bowl, the defense has been consistently the question for years. Can the Packers finally figure it out and become once again, a dominate NFC contender; or will the defense continue to be inept? Only time will tell, and that time comes in May.
This article is one in a series, published daily, providing analysis, insight and predictions leading up to the NFL draft and beyond.
Commentary by Justin Huffman