2015 Draft Spotlight: Arizona State Safety Damarious Randall
Turron Davenport | 4/21/2015, 6:30 p.m. | Updated on 4/21/2015, 5:33 a.m.
BALTIMORE This is the time of the year when opinions change and certain prospects turn into a hot commodity in the NFL Draft world. One of the more recent hot names is Arizona State safety Damarious Randall. A rather notable draft analyst recently named Randall as the top safety in the draft. This is very peculiar because this person said that there was only one truly legit safety prospect in the first three rounds this year.
Randall is a safety that brings some coverage ability to the table. He is well adept at dropping down and covering the slot receivers. That is something that he takes pride in. “I can cover one on one outside at corner. I am not just a safety. I can walk down and play man to man in the slot.”
Randall can also be used to blitz the quarterback from the nickel spot. When blitzing, he takes on blocks with no fear. There were a few times when Randall literally stood an offensive lineman up at the line of scrimmage. He attacks the line of scrimmage aggressively. Randall uses great instincts to time his blitz with the snap as he comes off of the edge.
Although he is a bit undersized, Randall is all about coming up to help in run support. As a safety, he has posted 177 total tackles in his two years at Arizona State. Randall has the desire to mix it up against the run and when facing short routes. He uses his past experience as a receiver to diagnose plays in front of him and break them up. Randall talked about how having played receiver in the past has helped him as a defensive back. “Playing receiver helped me a lot with my hands.” Randall continued; “It helped me look at things from an offensive perspective when I am watching film. I know what offensive coordinators are looking for as far as attacking the weakness of a defense.”
The video below shows how Randall is able to make the most of his opportunity to rush the quarterback. He drops down and is splitting the two receivers with his alignment. Randall timed the snap perfectly and got a very good jump on the ball. He is able to keep his rush wide enough to avoid the running back on blitz pickup.
Randall was able to make a quick strike on the ball and knock it out of the quarterback’s hands. His speed off the edge was too much for the running back.
Randall is a tenacious player that will always look for contact. Wide receivers that run the shorter crossing routes will have to be ready to take a hit because Randall is lurking on those kinds of opportunities.
The safety position is said to be weak this year but Damarious Randall is rising. He is probably the best pure free safety in this draft and has been said to be a possible first round pick. Randall is a ball hawking center fielder that read the quarterback and anticipate where he is going. Many don’t know that Randall played centerfield and shortstop while in junior college.
Draft Projection: Late 2nd/ Early 3rd
Why should the Ravens consider this prospect?
Versatility is always a trait that the team likes. They want defensive backs that can play both corner and safety, both of which Randall is capable at playing. Randall can come into Owings Mills and compete for the nickel corner spot. Another area in which Randall could contribute right away is on special teams. Randall was a steady contributor on punt and kickoff team in college. He also has the ability to return punts if he’s called upon to do so.
NFL Comparison: Jimmy Ward
The Jimmy Ward comparison is warranted because both players are considered to be under sized. Ward was selected last year and ended up taking over the nickel spot. Personnel people like the way that Ward and Randall attack the ball carrier with/out any regards for their size.