Of all the players the Green Bay Packers have drafted in the past few years, there was no one more enigmatic than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Let’s go back to 2014 when he was drafted. Nearly every draft expert and their mother had Clinton-Dix mocked to the Packers and when he was actually selected by former general manager Ted Thompson, Packers fans were elated. Remember, this was in the immediate aftermath of M.D. Jennings and the second season after the departure of Charles Woodson.
Packers fans had thought the team had found its next great safety, one that would finally fill the void left by Nick Collins whose career ended with a neck injury in 2011. For awhile, it looked like this was the case. Clinton-Dix struggled at times as a rookie and even made two interceptions of Russell Wilson in that ill-fated NFC Championship, but he kept improving and made the Pro Bowl in 2016.
Then everything went downhill.
He became more outspoken about locker room issues and his play slipped on the field. Clinton-Dix was constantly out of position and missed tackles. Entering a contract year in 2018, Clinton-Dix made it clear he expected to play elsewhere in 2019 (the NFL’s version of Eric Bledsoe telling the NBA he no longer wanted to be a Phoenix Sun) and with effort lacking and his play still flat lining despite leading the league in interceptions, the Packers shipped him off to Washington for a fourth round pick.
Now the Packers are back to the drawing board at safety (though not as bad as when Clinton-Dix arrived) and fans are left wondering what could have been.
You can read more on what led to the former Alabama standout’s downfall in today’s cheese curds.
A single Pro Bowl appearance in four seasons does not entitle you to a large contract. The Packers know this, but apparently Clinton-Dix did not. That led to increase behavioral problems and now he’s in Washington.
On the opposite side of the coin, look at Adams. He had a disastrous sophomore season but refocused himself and is now arguably a top-five receiver in the NFL and even made Jordy Nelson expendable. Clinton-Dix could have learned a lot from his teammate, who had his own breakout game against the New England Patriots in 2014.
Williams may not be the player he used to be but he has range, is intelligent and is still a ball hawk. In other words he’s everything the player he’s replacing wasn’t.
Breeland was considered one of the top cornerbacks available this spring until concerns over a freak football injury kept him unsigned well into the regular season. Now healthy and better versed in the Green Bay defense, he’s ready to make an impact.
The adventures of Florida Man continue. Going down a well just to say you did it is not a very….well….thought out plan.