The 2015 season was a good one for the Safety position on the Green Bay Packers, and even better things seem to be on the horizon in 2016.
Morgan Burnett took another step towards becoming a Pro Bowl Safety in the NFL. While he didn’t receive the recognition his play deserved, he has continued to improve throughout his career, and I believe is ready for a breakout year. HaHa Clinton-Dix is entering his third season which is historically the season Safeties make their greatest strides. Since the Packers don’t play with a Free or Strong Safety, having two players who can interchangeably play in the box against the run and break up deep passes is crucial. Clinton-Dix has shown steady improvement in the pass game to add to his stout run support.
Chris Banjo will provide depth at the position. Banjo is an excellent Special Teams player, who has been solid when he has had the opportunity in pass packages. He will need to prove he can step in full-time if there is an injury.
Micah Hyde is listed as a DB on the Packers official depth chart, which reflects the position fluidity he possesses. Hyde is good at a number of different things, but isn’t great at any one thing. He could be a short term solution is anything happened to Burnett or Clinton-Dix, but having him in the starting lineup consistently would take away from his primary role of covering Tight Ends on 3rd down.
Kentrell Brice is my pick to be the biggest standout in the preseason. Brice is an undrafted Safety out of Louisiana Tech who possesses elite athleticism. At his Senior Day he posted a 4.38 second 40, notched a 42-inch vertical jump, and recorded an 11-1 broad jump. He’s a hard hitter and showed the ability to cover slot receivers on 3rd down. He is unproven but has the ability to turn into the coverage Safety fans have been clamoring for.
Good defenses always have good to great play from their Safeties. If the Packers defense wants to take the next step, and push deeper into the playoffs, the development of Burnett and Clinton-Dix is crucial, as is finding appropriate depth.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig