Analysis (Kelly Hodgson): The pick is in and the Green Bay Packers have selected Arizona State’s Damarious Randall as the 3oth pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Listed as a Free Safety Randall will be joining the Packers’ secondary, he–like Aaron Rodgers–is comes originally from the junior college ranks before joining the PAC-12.
Initially a member of the Mesa Community College ranks he was a Junior College All-American and transferred to ASU after a stellar sophomore year. Listed at 5’11” and 196 pounds, he is a lean player from Pensacola, Florida.
Noted for double digit tackles in four games during the 2014 (with an average of 8.2 per game), Randall is an aggressive player. He started every game last season as a boundary safety. He logged 3 interceptions last year (2 of which were for scores), 9 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles.
Scouts see him as aggressive, tough and explosive. His angles are good and he is a solid blitzer that can attack the quarterback like a heat-seeking missile. On the flip side, he is often criticized for his loose tackle technique despite 177 tackles during his two years at ASU. While he is a bit small for the safety position, he might be more suited to be groomed as an NFL cornerback to fill the gaps left by the departure of Davon House and Tramon Williams?
What he may lack in fundamentals in tackling, he makes up with his speed and agility. He ran a 4.46 second 40 yard dash at the combine.
Initially predicted to be a second round prospect, his draft stock rose with Packers GM Ted Thompson opted for best player available (as he frequently does) and decided that the secondary needs were greater than replenish its inside linebacker.
That said, most of the top-ranked ILBs remain on the board, so do not be surprised if Thompson seeks talent of that nature in the second round.
You can follow the newest Green Bay Packer on Twitter at @RandallTime.
Team fit (Ross Uglem): ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky initially reported that the Packers view Randall as a cornerback. This was obviously an immediate relief to Packers fans who would have had a hard time understanding a 1st round safety after the HaHa Clinton-Dix pick, Morgan Burnett’s resurgence and the matching of Oakland’s offer sheet on Sean Richardson.
It’s unclear now whether Randall’s selection means that the Packers are excited for him as an outside corner, or a souped-up version of Micah Hyde. Given Randall’s height/weight/speed combination he certainly has the athletic ability to play cornerback. 5’11” 195 may be slight for a safety but it’s right in Green Bay’s wheelhouse at corner.
If the Packers believe that they have something in either Demetri Goodson, Tay Glover-Wright or even Casey Hayward on the outside they could use a playmaker like Randall inside right away. If they view Randall as a future starter on the outside it might take until later on in the season before he’s ready to contribute right away.
Ted Thompson has a steadfast strategy of accumulating the best football players that he can, often eschewing positions of need to take guys that he has high on his board. I have watched Coach Whitt turn players who had many more questions about them than “by far the best cover safety in the draft” who was an All American JuCo cornerback.--------------