With their first-round pick (30th overall) in the 2015 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Damarious Randall, Safety, Arizona State.
He recorded 69 tackles, nine interceptions and five total touchdowns (two receiving, two punt returns, one interception return). He was a three-star cornerback JUCO recruit and received almost three dozen scholarship offers, choosing to stay in Arizona and play for the Sun Devils.
Randall missed the start of the 2013 season due to a groin injury (nine starts), finishing his junior year with 71 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, six passes defended and three interceptions. He started all 13 games as the senior boundary safety in 2014 and led the team with 106 total tackles, 12 passes defended and three interceptions, earning First Team All-Pac 12 honors.
4.46 40yd, 38″ vertical, 120″ broad jump. 6.83 3-cone, 4.07 20yd shuttle
CBSSPORTS.COM: Above average speed for the position with transitional quickness and natural footwork. Highly aggressive and plays at full speed at all times. Never gives up on plays and has a knack for chasing down ballcarriers downfield from behind. Understands angles and sees things happening quickly. Decisive sideline angles with closing burst to make up ground. Good anticipation to jump routes, reading the quarterback and baiting throws.
Played on special teams coverages at Arizona State with experience as a return man. Productive starter in only two seasons at the FBS level, creating 10 turnovers (six interceptions, four forced fumbles).
Best cover safety in the draft, aggressive, explosive, player, can play in the slot, lots of versatility, very good ball skills, special teams gunner, and also has some return experience. Averaged 8 tackles per game last season, with 3INTs. Has game experience at both safety and corner. Has been mentioned by some scouts as a potential conversion project to cornerback.
But a safety? Really? Disappointment reigns. I’m trying to think of him as a defensive back, not just a safety. What the Packers did here was add some much-needed aggressiveness to their secondary. However they choose to use him, he will bring a hard-working and frenetic attitude to a secondary that can be a bit timid. He will be a special teams ace from the get-go, a key area Mike McCarthy promised to improve this season. To that end, he is likely to take over the gunner role from Jarrett Bush, who now surely will not return. Actually, if you think about it, he’s a much better version of Jarrett Bush – plays safety and corner, aggressive, special teams ace. But is that worth a first round pick?
Randall will be a good football player and a playmaker, but he’s not the ILB or pure cornerback I was hoping for.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.