2014 Packers Offseason Review: Free Agent and Draft Prospects at Safety

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at some possible safeties who could make their way to Green Bay this offseason.

After a sub-par performance from both safety positions in 2013, the Packers are looking to add a playmaker at a position that is dire need of change. M.D. Jennings is a restricted free agent, but I would be surprised if the Packers brought him back for the 2014 season. Morgan Burnett's contract alone will keep him around in 2014, but the team would be wise to find a veteran free agent to push Burnett for playing time.

Free Agents

Jairus Byrd (Bills)

Byrd recorded 48 tackles and four interceptions in only 11 games (foot injury) for the Buffalo Bills in 2013, and was voted to the Pro Bowl for his production. The five-year veteran will be looking for a big pay day as one of the top free agents of 2014. Byrd is a proven playmaker, and would be an instant upgrade over anyone on the current roster. I doubt the Packers would be able to get into the neighborhood of what Byrd will be expecting ($6.9 million last year due to the franchise tag), but desperate times call for desperate measures. Byrd would be the Plan A option in a world without salary cap.

Donte Whitner (49ers)

Whitner recorded 73 total tackles and two interceptions for the 49ers defense in 2013. The eight-year veteran had a $3.8 million salary in 2013, and will likely look for something in the $4 - 5 million range this offseason. Whitner is a shorter safety at 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds, but he would bring a much needed physicality to the safety position.

Chris Clemons (Dolphins)

Clemons recorded 92 tackles and one interception in 2013 for the Dolphins. The fifth-year veteran has the size (6-foot-1, 214 pounds) and speed that the Packers need at the safety position, and if his price tag isn't too steep ($2.75 million in 2013); the Packers should consider him.

T.J. Ward (Browns)

Ward recorded 112 tackles (third in the NFL for defensive backs) and two interceptions for the Browns defense in 2013. Much like Whitner, Ward isn't that big (5-foot-10, 200 pounds), but he isn't afraid to stick his nose in the action from his safety position. The four-year veteran will likely be looking for a bigger paycheck in 2014, after a salary of $1.2 million this past fall.

Taylor Mays (Bengals)

Mays recorded only 19 tackles in 8 games for the Bengals in 2013. Mays suffered a dislocated right shoulder that put him on IR the rest of the season, but seems to be recovering well. While the numbers aren't that impressive, one has to consider how many times the opposition was afraid to test the Bengals secondary. Mays is a big body at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, and would be a welcomed addition to a unit that lacks size. The four-year veteran will be coming off a contract that earned $1.1 million a year, and will likely be looking for an upgrade in that department.

Draft Prospects

First Round

Ha'Sean "HaHa" Clinton-Dix (Alabama)

Clinton-Dix recorded 50 tackles, two interceptions, and four pass break-ups in 2013 for the Crimson Tide. Clinton-Dix excels in his pass coverage skills (5 INTs in 2012) and covers a lot of ground with his speed. He was the ideal size (6-foot-1, 209 pounds) to be a free safety in the NFL, but will be still be available when the Packers are on the clock in the first round?

Calvin Pryor (Louisville)

Pryor recorded 75 tackles, three interceptions, four pass break-ups, and two forced fumbles as a junior in 2013. Pryor has the size (6-foot-2, 208) to match-up with tight ends and bigger wide receivers, and tackles with force in run support.

Middle Rounds

Craig Loston (LSU)

Loston recorded 57 tackles, three pass break-ups, three interceptions and four tackles for loss in 2013. Loston has the size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) to be an immediate contributor in the NFL.

Deone Bucannon (Washington State)

Bucannon recorded 114 tackles, six interceptions, and three forced fumbles in 2013. Bucannon had a solid performance in the Senior Bowl, and displayed good mix of pass coverage skills, run support, and tackling technique during the week-long practice for the event. At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, he isn't afraid to match-up with bigger wideouts.

Tre Boston (North Carolina)

Boston recorded 94 tackles, five interceptions, and eight pass break-ups in 2013. Boston (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) moved from cornerback to safety during his career at North Carolina, which makes him a flexible option for a team looking to add an immediate playmaker at the nickel position.

Late Rounds

Sean Parker (Washington)

Parker finished with 67 tackles, four interceptions, and four pass break-ups in 2013. Parker will need to display good coverage skills and speed at the combine to make up for his lack of size at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds.

Isaiah Lewis (Michigan State)

Lewis recorded 58 tackles, two interceptions, and 10 pass breaks in 2013. Lewis displayed good coverage skills, and a physical presence in his senior season, but will have to prove he has the speed to warrant a draft selection. Much like Parker, he is a smaller safety (5-foot-10, 205).

Josh VanDyke covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He is also currently a sports writer for MLive.com.

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