Breakdown: Packers Select Damarious Randall

Everything you need to know about the Green Bay Packers’ first-round selection of safety Damarious Randall out of Arizona State from Scout's college and pro football experts.


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Damarious Randall
Arizona State / 5'11 / 196 lbs
  • S
  • [1] #30

Analysis

Randall made his way to Arizona State via the junior college route. In the desert he started 24 of 25 games playing both cornerback and safety. That should bode well for him in the NFL. As a Sun Devil Randall finished with 177 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, six interceptions, four forced fumbles and 12 pass deflections. He has excellent closing speed and very good cover skills for a safety. He plays bigger than his 5-foot-11 frame when you factor in his 38-inch vertical and his strength (14 reps of 225-pounds).

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

The Packers continue to revamp their secondary. This pick goes to another safety in former Sun Devil Damarious Randall. He made his way to Arizona State via the junior college route. In the desert he started 24 of 25 games playing both cornerback and safety. That should bode well for him in the NFL. As a Sun Devil Randall finished with 177 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, six interceptions, four forced fumbles and 12 pass deflections. He has excellent closing speed and very good cover skills for a safety. He plays bigger than his 5-foot-11 frame when you factor in his 38-inch vertical and his strength (14 reps of 225-pounds). He’s a better cover safety than Landon Collins but not as good as the former Crimson Tide star in run support.

Damarious Randall did not have the traditional path to the Arizona State secondary. The free safety was out of football for over two years, playing baseball at a small junior college in Kansas before coming out to Arizona. Raised in Pensacola, Florida, after he graduated from Pensacola High School in 2010, he played baseball at Butler Community College, competing as a shortstop, even though his coaches wanted him in the outfield because of his speed.

Randall spent more than two years out of football before moving to the valley with a family member where he quickly found a home on the gridiron at Mesa Community College. In 2012, his only year of JUCO football, he tallied 69 tackles, nine interceptions and averaged over 18 yards per punt return. He was named an NJCAA first-team All-American and the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

After just one season at MCC, he had more than a dozen major college scholarship offers, including Louisville, Oklahoma, Nebraska and TCU. In the end, Randall elected to stay in Arizona and wear Maroon and Gold for the Sun Devils.

In 12 games at free safety, Randall tied for third on the team with 71 tackles in 2013, pulling in three interceptions with three pass break-ups and two forced fumbles while making 5.5 stops-for-loss for ASU. The All-Pac 12 Conference first-team pick had three more interceptions, as he broke up nine other throws and led the Sun Devils with 106 tackles, adding 9.5 stops-for-loss and two forced fumbles in 2014.

Randall is undersized, but has shown very good durability and stamina throughout his career thus far. Despite just three seasons on the gridiron, he’s the “quarterback” of the secondary, doing a fine job of lining everyone up. He shows very good recognition skills in the passing game, timing his leaps to produce 15 interceptions and 20 pass deflections in 36 games.

He generally gets a quick jump on the ball, but due to his inexperience, there are times when he does take some false steps when filling vs. the run. He is willing to help in run support, and even though he certainly isn't the type you would expect to be looking for contact unless it's necessary, he has recorded 15.0 stops-for-loss in two seasons at Arizona State.

Randall has the closing burst you look for in a speedy free safety. He plants and drives quickly and is at his best closing on the ball in front of him. He makes up ground when the ball is in the air and displays very quick feet. I would not consider him ideally fluid as a cornerback, but his coverage skills are better than average for the safety position.

He can match up one-on-one vs. many slot receivers and covers a lot of ground in deep-zone. The Sun Devil has excellent ball skills in coverage. He finds the ball quickly over his shoulder and is aggressive when the ball is in the air, timing his jumps well. He also does a good job of snatching it at the highest possible point.

The thing you notice from Randall at the “boundary” safety position is that he appears to really enjoy being the “quarterback of the defense” and despite minimal experience, he can often bee seen getting his teammates in proper alignment before the snap. He is quick to decide what to do after reading the quarterback's eyes and flashes above-average route recognition, evident by his 35 passes defended in three seasons.

Yes, like most players lacking a lot of experience, Randall can be overzealous and caught peeking in the backfield. Still, he plays with more passion that most on the field and as a former shortstop, you can see that he possesses above-average movement skills. He just has those loose hips to close on the ball in a hurry, along with adequate strength to hold his ground as both a half-field defender and at the point of attack. His closing burst is very good and he has the ability to make up ground when the ball is the air. He also flashes the ability to recover when caught out of position.

Do not be fooled by his adequate size and weight room numbers (14 reps in the 225-pound bench press), as Randall can hold up in man coverage vs. most tight ends and definitely has the mirror skills and foot speed to match up vs. quicker slot receivers. He turns and locates the ball and can extend his arms and snatch the ball out of the air.

Randall is making steady progress in attempts to understand when to play the ball or body. He elevates and can high-point the ball, but again, thanks to his shortstop experience, he’s had a few thefts by using just one hand in jump-ball situations. In 2014, the game started to slow down for him and he showed valid instincts when asked to step up and deliver the big hit in the box.

Randall generally does a nice job of breaking down and wrapping up ball carriers in the open field. While his size and adequate strength say he might not be an in-the-box safety, as some teams fear he lacks the elite size and takes too long to get off blocks, he does show consistent pursuit angles and you are not going to see him caught out of position too often.

Damarious Randall Scouting Combine measurables


5-11/196 (4.46 forty)
30 1/4-inch arm length
8 5/8-inch hands
14-reps
38-inch vertical jump
120-inch broad jump
6.83 3 cone drill
4.07 20 yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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