Friday, May 01, 2015

2015 Packers 1st Round: Arizona State DB Damarious Randall

He played free safety in college but GM Ted Thompson has already said that Randall is going to play cornerback for the Green Bay Packers and he's a versatile player who gives them more options.
Watching these video highlights I can see what the scouts were talking about when they said he has cornerback size and free safety skill set. He's a hard charging downfield runner, but he doesn't have a very big frame. He looks a little smaller than his measurables, which aren't the biggest anyway. If Randall does end up lining up outside, at least he'll be a plus in run support because sometimes the cornerbacks are the only defender when a running back bounces the play outside.

Value: While Randall wasn't generally projected as a 1st round pick in mock drafts, he was ranked No. 37 overall at CBS and he wouldn't have remained available if the Packers had waited until the end of the 2nd round. GM Ted Thompson talked to some teams about moving back but those scenarios might have moved them back too far to still take Randall. So he's not a great value pick, but this was when they had to make their take him or lose him.

Need: He probably won't start from Day 1 and won't be a major contributor in 2015, but they had a glaring need for depth in the defensive backfield. Also, the transition of Micah Hyde to full time, starting cornerback isn't guaranteed to succeed. They still have a lot of question marks at linebacker but only one inside backer was selected in the 1st round (the Saints reached for Clemson's Stephone Anthony who had a 2-3 round grade) and their options remain open. So he doesn't fill their biggest need on the roster but he does fill an important one.

Best Player Available: That answer might depend on how high you value defensive backs. He was the highest ranked free safety at CBS, and the only two corners remained with higher draft rankings. And those two players come with character issues (Florida State's Ronald Darby) or worries that he might be a safety in the NFL (Utah's Eric Rowe). So Randall was arguably the best defensive back available. Some players fell due to character concerns (Nebraska's Randy Gregory) which makes it hard to say he was clearly the best remaining player.

The Packers did well in the 1st round last year with a defensive back (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix) so that's a good sign that their scouts know what they're doing. While Randall wasn't the best player available, didn't fill their biggest need, and didn't provide the best value, he was taken only a little ahead of when he should have gone and he'll give them the backfield depth they really need. He looks like a good selection and now we'll have to wait and see what he looks like on the field.

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