The Green Bay Packers open training camp next week. Time to look at each position on Mike McCarthy’s team. Next up are the safeties.
With the summer comes the anticipation of another NFL season. For the Green Bay Packers, it begins in earnest on July 26 when both rookies and veterans report to training camp. It’s been quite a run for Mike McCarthy’s club. In 2016, they won the NFC North for the fifth time in six seasons and have now reached the postseason eight consecutive years.
Here we are in the midst of a series which will look at the Packers’ various positions and how they stack up heading into camp. We have already previewed the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and offensive line. Meanwhile, we have already looked at the defensive line, as well as both the outside and inside linebackers and the cornerbacks. Next up are the safeties.
Mike McCarthy’s team and coordinator Dom Capers have quite the last line of defense in strong safety Morgan Burnett and free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The latter was the 21st overall pick in 2014. His third season in the league proves to be the charm. The former University of Alabama star finishes third on the team with 79 tackles. He leads the eventual NFC North champions with five interceptions. He also knocked down seven passes, forced a fumble and was named to his first Pro Bowl.
On the other hand, Burnett led the Packers with 91 stops. Add in three sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and nine passes defensed and the seven-year pro enjoyed a solid campaign despite a bevy of injuries to Green Bay cornerbacks. He’s Pro Football Focus’ 14th-ranked safety, with Clinton-Dix at No. 22.
Now add intriguing prospect Josh Jones (2b-North Carolina State) to the mix. He has the built (6’1”, 220 pounds) to help out with run support and is an ideal fit for what Capers likes to do. His versatility can make up for the loss of Micah Hyde, who signed with the Buffalo Bills this offseason. But he appears to still be a work in progress, as alluded to by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. As for depth, Kentrell Brice chipped in with 20 tackles in ’16.
The Green Bay Packers are set at the safety spots with Burnett and Clinton-Dix, as well as an intriguing prospect in Josh Jones. Without question, this is the strength of Capers’ defense.
Russell S. Baxter covers the Green Bay Packers for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Packers news and features? Like our Packers Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_packers on Twitter.