Referenced briefly in our earlier "Best Batle at Every Position" post here at Cheesehead TV, it's terrific that the Packers addressed safety by selecting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round of the NFL Draft. It was a position in need of an obvious upgrade.
But what if Clinton-Dix gets hurt? Or Morgan Burnett gets hurt?
The Packers could be back to Square 1 in the matter of an instant at a safety position that is still in need of depth.
Outside of Clinton-Dix, the only other safeties the Packers added this offseason were undrafted rookie free agents Tanner Miller of Iowa and Charles Clay of Hawaii. Consider them worthwhile projects but not the answer at the safety position.
In retrospect, it's hard to believe the Packers didn't make more of an attempt to add more talent at safety, either through free agency or the draft, learning a lesson from last year.
They didn't need to spend top dollar on a starting-caliber player, but when the NFL Draft was over and Craig Loston, Kenny Ladler and Nickoe Whitley were all still available as free agents, the Packers should have opened the pocketbook to attract a player with some potential by offering a nice signing bonus.
Beyond the two starters in Green Bay, the top backups are Sean Richardson and Chris Banjo. Both players have something to offer, but neither has yet proven to be a reliable three-down safety in the NFL. That could change in the matter of months but that is also no guarantee.
Based on comments from head coach Mike McCarthy this offseason, the Packers have been open to the idea of playing Micah Hyde at safety but have been hesitant to dive head first into such an experiment. Their hesitancy probably has to do with Hyde being an effective slot cornerback that's arguably his best position on the field.
The Packers, however, need to find a capable backup safety posthaste.
With Organized Team Activities (OTAs) due to start this upcoming week, it's time to teach Hyde the ins and outs of the safety position.
No rash decisions need to be made about Hyde's future, but the Packers should take advantage of the next month to find out if Hyde can handle safety. And that doesn't mean they have to stop developing him as a slot defender.
Worst-case scenario, it's a failed experiment and the coaches move Hyde back to his comfort zone at cornerback when training camp begins.
But there's an opportunity beginning next week the Packers shouldn't squander.
The need at safety is still acute. And Hyde could be the answer.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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