The line has always been—“Take the best player available, regardless of need.” To be fair…I’ve never really believed in that mantra. It should read—“Take the best player available, while considering need and system fit.” The Packers and Ted Thompson presumably took the best player available with the 21st pick in the draft—when they selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He fills a need, he was the best Defensive player on the board, and he fits the Packers’ system.
Re-visiting the moment and the important selections that were “off the board,” the Packers options were limited. Green Bay’s draft board changed dramatically in a 5-pick span that began with #14--Kyle Fuller-Bears, #15-Ryan Shazier-Steelers, #17-C.J. Mosley-Ravens, and #18-Calvin Pryor-Jets. That left just a few players of significant interest for Ted Thompson. Assume that the Packers had interest in Dix and Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard on Defense, and Marquisse Lee-WR USC. The other option would have been to trade down.
As it turns out… the Packers did what so many fans and media wanted them to do, they drafted one of the two Safety’s that began the night as consensus 1st round picks. It’s well chronicled that the Safety position did not produce an interception in the 2013 season. The Packers Defense is better now (on paper) than it was when they lost to the 49’ers in the playoffs. The biggest area of need has been addressed in Free Agency with Julius Peppers and the draft with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Not done yet…but Packers fans are smiling today…even laughing. Ha Ha