Pro Day Tour '14: Comparing Safeties

Is Alabama's HaHa Clinton-Dix the No. 1 safety in this draft? Or is it this prospect, who has tested better athletically and put up far better numbers statistically? We have the scoop from five pro days in which a Packers scout was in attendance.

Safety A ran his 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in 4.49 seconds, with a 36.5-inch vertical and 19 reps on the 225-pound bench press. Safety B ran his 40 in 4.56 seconds with a 33-inch vertical and 11 reps on the bench.

Safety A had six interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2013, giving him a four-year total of 15 interceptions and seven forced fumbles. Safety B had two interceptions and no forced fumbles in 2013, giving him seven interceptions and one forced fumble in his two years as a starter.

Safety A had 114 tackles, giving him a four-year total of 384 tackles. Safety B had 52 tackles in 2013, giving him 89 in two seasons as a starter.

Safety B is Alabama's HaHa Clinton-Dix, who is considered the No. 1 safety in this draft class, at least by the media pundits.

Safety A is Washington State's Deone Bucannon, who is considered only a second- or third-round prospect.

After his big Scouting Combine, Bucannon (6-1, 211) only went through position drills during Washington State's pro day on Thursday. He looked "great," a source said.

Comparing stats can be an apples-to-oranges proposition, considering differences in scheme and supporting cast. Clinton-Dix was a key cog in Nick Saban's star-studded, NFL-centric scheme. Bucannon was the player the Washington State defense was built around. Still, logo on the helmet aside, it's impossible to dismiss the fact that Bucannon is faster and stronger than Clinton-Dix.

Considering the Packers got zero interceptions and zero forced fumbles from their safeties last season, Bucannon's playmaking ability would be an obvious attraction. And considering Green Bay has failed to bolster its safety corps through free agency, safety will be a huge need during May's draft.

Oklahoma State

The Packers aren't going to have a chance at drafting cornerback Justin Gilbert with the 21st pick.

"He's the best corner in the draft. It's not even close in my mind," said a source who attended the OSU workout. "He's going in the top 10. He's got that demeanor. He wants to be great."

Gilbert, who had seven interceptions as a senior and six career touchdowns on kickoff returns, went through position drills after running a 4.37 in the 40 at the Combine.

Otherwise, it wasn't a star-studded affair on what the source called "crappy turf" that slowed the players and led to some questionable footing. Receiver Tracy Moore (6-1, 215) ran in 4.60 and showed his route-running ability. Fellow receiver Charlie Moore (6-1, 206) ran in 4.55. They both had better days than the more touted receiver, Josh Stewart (5-10, 178), who was clocked in 4.59.

The two players who emerged were safety Daytawion Lowe (6-0, 196) and quarterback Clint Chelf (6-1, 210). Lowe, an excellent tackler who started 39 consecutive games, ran in 4.45 with a 37-inch vertical. Chelf, who completed just 56.4 percent of his passes as a senior, had just two incompletions — both drops — during his throwing session and ran in 4.60.


So, what happens if De'Anthony Thomas is on the board at the end of the fifth round?

The Packers don't need a running back, and they've never shown interest in a player of his stature (5-9, 174). Still, he's one of the most explosive players in this draft, whether it's from the backfield, in the passing game or returning kickoffs. He ran in 4.34, according to Oregon's Web site.

"I want to get anywhere on the field to show my ability and that I can play football," Thomas said. "Wide receiver, punt returner, kick returner, I just want to be somewhere on the field so I can make plays."

And what if Taylor Hart is available at that same spot? Hart (6-6, 281), who finished fourth on the team in tackles while adding 3.5 sacks, 6.5 TFLs and three forced fumbles, has the versatility the Packers covet. Like the Packers do with Mike Neal, Hart could line up as an interior pass rusher or at outside linebacker. He ran in 4.81 with a 30-inch vertical.

Cornerback Terrance Mitchell ran in 4.56 — a slight improvement over his 4.63 from the Combine — but aggravated a nagging hamstring, according to At 5-foot-11, he fits the Packers' mold. Mitchell, a third- or fourth-round prospect, entered the draft following a junior season in which he intercepted seven passes.


Wyoming has three intriguing talents, including Day 3 options Brett Smith and Marqueston Huff.

Smith, an impressive dual-threat quarterback, surprisingly was not invited to the Scouting Combine. As a junior in 2013, he threw for 3,375 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and rushed for 573 yards (4.6 average) and four more touchdowns. He finished 2012 with 174 consecutive passes without an interception. Smith (6-2, 208) ran an impressive 4.51, according to a source, and "looked great" in position drills by showing better-than-expected arm strength. The Packers would like to add a fourth quarterback, and if Smith gets to them in the fifth or sixth round, he'd be a strong consideration.

"It showed everything I've been working on for the last two and a half months," Smith told the school Web site. "I'm hoping all the hard work paid off. Now, I just want to get back to work and do what I can to improve my mechanics and basically do everything all over again."

Huff had a big senior season with 127 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. It was his first season at safety after playing corner during his first three seasons. Huff (5-11, 196) ran in 4.49 with a 35.5-inch vertical at the Combine. He improved to 4.47.

The Cowboys' top prospect, receiver Robert Herron, touched the mid-4.3s with his 40 time after going 4.48 at the Combine. At 5-foot-9 and with limited return background, he's probably not a target of interest for Green Bay.


Cornerback Travis Carrie helped his draft prospects with a big day. Carrie (5-11, 204) ran in the high 4.3s with a 41-inch vertical, then turned in a strong positional workout, according to a source. It was an impressive day, considering he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in January. The intrigue with Carrie, beyond the measurables and his four interceptions as a senior, is his return ability. He averaged 12.5 yards per punt return as a junior in 2011, took a medical redshirt in 2012, and led the MAC with a 12.7-yard average as a senior.

Receiver Donte Foster ran in 4.46 with a 42-inch vertical, according to a source. He recorded just the second 1,000-yard receiving season in school history.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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