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Q&A with New Packers Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

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Q&A with New Packers Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Cheesehead TV was at the NFL Combine, where new Green Bay Packers first round draft choice Ha Ha Clinton-Dix met with the media.

Here's what he had to say:

Question: Why are you the best safety in the draft?

Clinton-Dix: "I'm one of the best safeties in the draft because I played in (Nick) Saban's system. I feel like I'm prepared for the next level. I'm a fast learner. I play fast. I study a lot of film. I study the opponent a lot, and that's about it. I fly around."

Question: How did playing in the SEC help you?

Clinton-Dix: "I think a lot of SEC players are huge. Pretty big, pretty fast. They play at a top-notch level. So I think I played at a top level in the SEC."

Question: Are you the type of safety playing in the box or back in "centerfield?"

Clinton-Dix: "My sophomore year I wasn't in the box that much, but my junior year I feel like I got involved in the box a lot and was able to make a lot of tackles in the box. So I felt like I did a lot my junior year."

Question: Are you a free or strong safety?

Clinton-Dix: "I think I can play both deep field and inside the box."

Question: Are teams looking at you more at free safety?

Clinton-Dix: "You know, at the next level you've got to know both. You've got to be able to play in the box and play deep. So if you know both, you'll be fine."

Question: Why did you come out early as an underclassman?

Clinton-Dix: "I wanted to make sure I was ready to go to the next level, make sure I had the first-round grade if possible, to go in the first round. I feel like I accomplished a lot at the University of Alabama.

Question: Are you NFL ready?

Clinton-Dix: "I feel like a lot of teams use the pro-style offense in college. Like I said, playing for Coach Saban's defense, we did a lot of things. We played nickel, dime, Cover 2 situations. We played a lot of different defenses."

Question: What's your work ethic and leadership like?

Clinton-Dix: "I'm a friendly guy. I love to work. I'm always smiling. You'll never catch me down even when things are not going right. I'm just a leader, and I'll try to lead be example."

Question: What safeties do you like in the NFL?

Clinton-Dix: "Earl Thomas, Mark Barron, Kenny Vaccaro. I like watching those guys, most definitely.

Question: Do you know much about Calvin Pryor?

Clinton-Dix: "C.P. is a rare player. He plays fast. He's always around the ball. He can hit. He's a physical person. So if I compare myself, I'd just say I'm very quick. I can't say I can hit like him because I'm a big hitter. But he's a great guy."

Question: Is there more emphasis on safeties these days in NFL?

Clinton-Dix: Chance (Kam Chancellor) is a big-play, big-time safety. But you also need safeties that can cover slot receivers and also play the deep middle of the field and in the box. So I think you need more versatile safeties in this league now.

Question: What's best part of your game?

Clinton-Dix: "I play fast and very physical. I'm not afraid to line up against the slot. I can do it all.

Question: What about that first name Ha Ha? What's the worst thing you've ever heard about it.

Clinton-Dix: "The whole President Clinton thing with Monica Lewinksy thing. I didn't know much about that."

Question: How did you get the nickname Ha Ha?

Clinton-Dix: "My first name's pronounced Ha'Sean (Ha-seen), but it's spelled (Ha-shawn). So people got mixed up a lot. My grandmother gave me that name when I was about three or four years old, so everyone's been calling me that since then.

Question: What's the difference between how you were used as a sophomore and then a junior?

Clinton-Dix: My sophomore year, I was asked to pretty much play the middle of the field a lot. You know, make sure I was the deepest guy. The last guy to be making the tackle and what-not. But this year I was able to more involved in the run and being in the box. So I think that was the difference.

Question: How much have you watched of Calvin Pryor?

Clinton-Dix: "I watched him play on Thursday a lot because they played on Thursday, Louisville did. So I was able to catch their games and see what type of player he was. He's definitely a great player."

Question: What separates you from rest of the safeties?

Clinton-Dix: Well, there's a lot of good prospects out there, but I think what separates me from the rest of them is the system I played in. Like I said, Coach Saban's system is very hard. It took me my entire freshman year to learn that system. And I think that's what separates me."

Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

lucky953's picture

I like the humility---giving recognition to other "prospects". Alabama has been good to the Packers. This defense just got better.

L's picture

While I was hoping that LB Ryan Shazier would be the pick for the Pack at 21 over guys like Ha Ha, Prior, Mosely, or Ebron I have to admit that I did like Ha Ha as the next best player out of that group.

It also turned out he was the only one left of that group to be available at 21; nevertheless, I'm glad it was him if it couldn't be Shazier and as you point out I like the humility I'm hearing from him and I too believe the Pack's defense just got a nice improvement by adding a rangy athletic centerfield capable safety. I definitely think he's someone who compliments M.Burnett's capabilities in the backfield.

Overall, an excellent pick for the Pack and I look forward to seeing who the team adds tomorrow. Go Packers!

Stroh's picture

Good pick, probably the #3 player for the Packers IMO. Would have love Shazier or Mosley but Clinton-Dix is probably a better fit for the Packers than Pryor. He is more of a Centerfield type Safety and allow Burnett to play SS. However both Clinton-Dix and Burnett should be very interchangeable and allow the Packers to disguise coverages better.

Wonder if they had any offers to trade down. After Shazier and Mosley went I thought moving down made a lot of sense. But can't complain, even if he wasn't one of my top 2 guys for the Pack.

Burnett will be much better w/ Clinton-Dix than if they had taken Pryor or Bucannon.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I just knew Shazier wouldn't fall to 21. I thought Mosley had a chance due to the injury concerns,but that didn't work in our favor.

I hope TT works some magic and get more defense in the 2nd. WRs are going to start coming off the board right after the QBs.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I'm in Vegas right now so I for the first time in about 14 years didn't see the Packers pick live or the draft live. I saw the Ravens on the clock and Mosely, Pryor, and Ha-Ha still available. I said if they got one of those guys I would be happy.
So I'm happy.

packsmack's picture

I don't like the pick, but what do I know? I liked McMillian. Hopefully he's a stud and I continue being a poor safety evaluator.

Point Packer's picture

I like the pick. We need a safety. Ha Ha is a proven commodity. Only time will tell. Best of luck to him. Like the initial attitude.

Sir Cheese 82's picture

Cow will somehow find a way to complain about this.

The TKstinator's picture

Imagine an NFL team with "needs"!!
Obviously Ted sucks!!

(Channeling the bovine here.)

aManOfTheNorth's picture

Just watch his highlights...he knows angles, he wraps up and hits hard...that alone is a great improvement.

tm_inter's picture

We needed a safety. We got one of the best (if not the best) safeties in this year's draft. So we should be happy. I look forward to getting the best players available tomorrow night, without trading up, hopefully getting an inside linebacker, a tight end, and a wide receiver at our next three picks, not necessarily in this order.

jh9's picture

Watching film on all the top safeties, one could see that Dix and Pryor were the most NFL-ready. I believe Ward and Bucannon will develop in a year or two and be terrific players, but Dix will have more impact this year.

No need for anyone to jump off a ledge. As many others have said, this is a deep draft. I mocked this scenario (Mosley, Shazier, and Pryor unavailable) last week:
21
S HASEAN CLINTON-DIX
ALABAMA
53
TE AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS
WASHINGTON
85
DT DAQUAN JONES
PENN STATE
98
CB PIERRE DESIR
LINDENWOOD
121
WR ALLEN ROBINSON
PENN STATE
161
OT LAURENT DUVERNAY-TARDIF
MCGILL
176
ILB LAMIN BARROW
LSU
197
C BRYAN STORK
FLORIDA STATE
236
OLB PRINCE SHEMBO
NOTRE DAME

MarkinMadison's picture

My thoughts after a few hours to sleep on it.

1) 4 safeties went in the span of 12 picks. Clearly TT knew what could happen to the draft board, even while I and others were saying "trade back." No doubt that TT remembered that he got the short end of the stick last year at this position, and the Packers could not afford to have it happen two years in a row. Last year there was still some hope that McMillan would step up. This year there is some hope that Hyde can make a position switch. Hope ain't a plan. This was a move that needed to happen.

2) FWIW ESPN gave 10 players who went ahead of Ha-Ha equal or lower grades, and 1 player who went below him an equal grade (Dennard). TT dodged the question of whether Ha-Ha was BPA on his board, but you can't objectively argue that you KNOW that this was a reach pick for a need instead of BPA (or Essentially Equal PA).

3) I think generally everyone agrees that ILB and S are the Packers' two biggest needs. By the time the Packers were picking Moesly and Shazier were gone, and IMHO there is not an ILB left on the board worthy of a 1st or 2nd round pick. The Packers may have also dodged a bullet if Moesly turns out to be too prone to getting banged up to stay on the field. However, the fact that the Ravens scooped him up ahead of the Packers, just like they did with Ray Lewis, is certainly an oddity if nothing else.

4) When you listened to TT talk it became pretty clear that what they loved about Ha-Ha was his mental readiness for the NFL. This Q&A reinforces that idea. Considering that Ha-Ha is certain to be penciled in as the starter from day 1, I don't think you can underestimate the importance of this fact. Heck, that is why I was arguing they should get a S in FA - because it is a position that requires mental development. I think it is safe to say that TT got the S he wanted. No wonder that he ignored the trade offers.

HankScorpio's picture

". Considering that Ha-Ha is certain to be penciled in as the starter from day 1"

I wouldn't bet on that. Not with the "complicated" defense the Packers run. Rookies just don't start in it very often. I hate that the Packers run that type of defense. But it is what it is.

MarkinMadison's picture

Round 2 looks wide open for the Packers. With no ILB available worthy of a 2nd round pick. Marcus Martin of USC is almost certainly the best center in this draft, both in terms of current production and ceiling, IMHO. He should be available at the bottom of the 2nd round. There should also be some good OTs and WRs still remaining. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Packers pick up Martin or an OT.

The TKstinator's picture

A great confluence of need and BPA. Keep it going, GB.

HankScorpio's picture

The NFL is evolving. With all the glorified WRs playing TE these days, Safety is turning into a much more important position. They need to be able to function in man coverage because offenses will dictate it happens. For that reason, I love having 3 viable options at Safety in Burnett, Hyde and Clinton-Dix.

Given the history of the defense Capers runs, I expect Clinton-Dix will be mixed in slowly. Troy Palamulu was mixed in slowly in Pittsburgh. If Clinton-Dix is half the player Palamulu was, it is a great pick.

I'm pretty happy with a primary dime DB group of Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett & Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix.

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