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Offseason Scouting Report: Damarious Randall

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Offseason Scouting Report: Damarious Randall

One of the most talked about players of the Packers' 2017 offseason has undoubtedly been third year cornerback Damarious Randall. Simply put, the biggest weakness for the Packers in 2016 was the play of their cornerbacks and Damarious Randall was a big reason as to why. Coming into last season the expectations for Randall and the secondary were high.

Sam Shields was set to be the Packers’ number one corner and the Packers were ready to unleash their trio of second year defensive backs; Randall, Quentin Rollins and LaDarius Gunter. Green Bay was so confident in these three that they were willing to let Casey Hayward walk in free agency and focus the majority of Micah Hyde's time at safety. While things didn't turn out the way the Packers had hoped, there was certainly reason to believe that Randall was ready to be a starter in 2016.

He was coming off a solid rookie season and looked ready to make the second year jump. By all accounts he had a very solid offseason in 2016 and came in ready to compete for the job. What was once a promising season came crashing down on Randall and Green Bay; however, as Randall was oft-injured throughout the season and ended up ranking 108 out of 111 graded cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus.

The Packers addressed their cornerback position in the offseason fairly extensively, bringing back veteran Davon House and drafting Kevin King with their first pick in the draft. Add in the fact that Randall is making the transition to slot cornerback in 2017 and you can get an idea as to why so many people have been talking about Randall this offseason.

There have been the logical comparisons to Davante Adams who also struggled in his sophomore season. Of course Adams showed flashes his rookie season, struggled year two and then broke out in year three for Green Bay. Many fans are hoping the same will hold true for Green Bay's former first round cornerback.

The reports out of practices thus far have been positive; stating that Randall looks much better, more confident and more comfortable playing the slot position. Could Randall really have a breakout reminiscent of Davante Adams? Could he be the Packers answer at slot cornerback and at minimum become a major contributor in the secondary? Could he develop into the playmaker Ted Thompson and company thought he could be when selecting him in the first round in 2015?

These were the questions that I wanted answers to and the questions that led me on an offseason journey of reviewing Randall's tape over the past three years. Below you will find my full scouting report on Damarious Randall, why he has struggled so far and my projections for him this upcoming season.

Before reading the scouting notes towards the end, I would highly recommend that you review the following video threads on your own. These posts were specifically made with the intent of giving the fans an opportunity to see Randall's full body of work, without a ton of opinion. In these threads you will not just see Randall's highlights, or his worst plays, but his full body of work.

You get the good, the bad, the ugly and the mundane. To me, the fun part of scouting is putting the full body of work together and coming to your own conclusion as to whether or not you believe the player can succeed going forward.

Here are Randall’s threads from college and 2015 (click next to my name in the tweet to see the entire thread):

Scouting Report

Strengths

Competitive - My favorite Damarious Randall story, and the moment I most thought he was going to be a long-term keeper for Green Bay, was when he recovered the onside kick against Detroit in 2015. The story goes that Randall specifically went to Ron Zook and asked to be put in the game so he could go make a play. Here was the result:

Clutch - Randall has come through with a few clutch plays (see onside kick recovery above) but look no further than his pass break up late in the 4th quarter against San Diego to see just how clutch Randall can be.

Athletic - Note Randall’s RAS score and Mock Draftable chart at the bottom of this article to see where Randall ranks athletically. Make no mistake about it, Randall’s athletic mold is the biggest reason that he was selected in the first round by Green Bay. His measureables are exactly what the Packers look for in the defensive backfield. 

Versatile - Coming into the league it was expected that Randall would be able to fill a variety of roles in a new hybrid defensive backfield. He has now played safety at Arizona State, boundary corner for Green Bay and this season he is set to play in the slot. He has also been a factor on special teams throughout his time at Arizona State and Green Bay. His positional versatility is in theory a plus, but he needs to find a way to master one of those positions to reach his true potential.

Weaknesses 

Lacks Eye Discipline - This is my biggest issue with Randall. There are way too many times when he lacks eye discipline and will watch what the quarterback is doing rather than track his man. There were way too many times when Randall left his man wide open because he was trying to anticipate what the quarterback was going to do. This is something he will have to correct in 2017.

Poor Technique - One of the reasons that Randall’s technique may have suffered is because he has yet to find his true position. Randall will be playing his third different position in four years and that can really take its toll on a young defensive back. The hope is obviously that Randall can find a home in the slot and learn to master his technique.

Inconsistent - While eye discipline and poor technique may get Randall in the most trouble, his inconsistency is what makes him the most frustrating. There have been times when Randall has gone out and played some really solid football, especially in 2015. He just hasn’t been able to keep that up consistently enough over the course of the past two years to have any confidence that he will be able to go out and have a solid game against any type of above average NFL receiver.

Struggles in Space - This is what is most concerning over Randall’s transition to slot cornerback. Go back and watch his ASU tape specifically to see just how much Randall struggled in space. Randall is simply not fleet footed enough to be able to stay consistently with the twitchy slot wide receivers. To make matters worse he’s been an inconsistent tackler and a poor blitzer. That is not a recipe for success in the slot.

Summary

Over the past few months I’ve went back and watched every snap of Damarious Randall from 2015 to 2016. In addition, I’ve watched every college snap available on Draft Breakdown. What I’ve come away with is a talented player who was over drafted and who lacks a true position in an NFL secondary.

There isn’t much question that Randall has the athleticism to make it in the NFL and when he’s right he projects as a valuable member of the secondary. I was, like many of you, under the impression that his poor 2016 was probably going to be chalked up to a sophomore slump or the reported injuries that he’s been going through.

When I went back and watched the college tape and every snap from 2015, I didn’t have the same confidence. What I saw over the past three years was virtually the same player. A player who lacked the necessary technique, rhythm and, at times, the confidence to play defensive back at a high level in the NFL.

In college, Randall struggled being the last line of defense, too often missing tackles or abandoning his positioning. In the NFL he lacked the consistent technique to compete on the outside with any level of reliability. Wide receivers who were advanced router runners would give Randall fits.

Here was the question that I kept going back to: What does he do well at the NFL level against NFL receivers? As a physical player he is not adept at press man-to-man, he struggles to fill in the run game and he’s a below average blitzer. In space he will get his feet caught in mud and is a second late reacting. He doesn’t have the speed to matchup with either the quick slot receivers or the super-fast outside receivers. He’s also not going to out-muscle anyone for a jump ball.

Randall gets by, by having above average athleticism in almost every category and he competes hard. He also cares about the game and he has a passion for winning that you can tangibly see on film, but as a true NFL defensive back he is lacking in many ways, largely due to technique.

2017 Projection

Even with my obvious lack of faith in Randall over the past three years there remains good news and reason for hope. Once again, the reports out of the Packers’ camp thus far have been that Randall has really taken to his new position. He seems bound and determined to live up to his 1st round selection and you can tell he wants to succeed and he wants to win.

He’s being coached by one of the best defensive back coaches in the business in Joe Whitt and he will have tremendous competition all around him to hopefully push him to the next level. Randall can be a playmaker. He’s shown a propensity both in college and in the pros to get his hands on loose footballs and that is something that can be of great value playing the star position.

If Randall can take the next step with his technique he has the athleticism to be a good player. Randall doesn’t need to be Charles Woodson in the slot to be successful. A solid Micah Hyde level replacement will serve the Packers very well and will be a huge step in the right direction for Randall.

Just as Davante Adams was a year ago, Damarious Randall is at a crossroads in his career. His offseason work will go a long way in determining his future NFL success. I have my doubts that he can make an easy transition to a slot cornerback position where wide receivers have more space to work with but regardless of how bad the tape looks at times, you can see the talent is there; now it’s up to Randall to play up to it.

Notes

2016 PFF Grade: 35.8, 107/109 graded cornerbacks

2015 PFF Grade: 57.9

Randall’s Measurables

Randall’s Spider Chart

Randall’s RAS

https://relativeathleticscores.com/2017/05/18/damarious-randall-ras/

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (24) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Packer Fan's picture

OK, here is an article that seems to me that Randall will be just a serviceable DB if the Pack find the proper position and don't make him play other positions. The Pack has selected slot position. Hope it works. And who will be edge backup when King or House get hurt or don't play well - it will happen? Hope not Randall, or Rollins or for sure not Gunter. The Pack is bent on going with House, King and a renewed Randall. Lots of unknowns. My thought back when free agency started to pickup another veteran cornerback to play the edge. We will see. Just hope the Pack doesn't run into the same issue in the playoffs as they did last year.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I've always written, since the day they were drafted, that Rollins would play boundary CB ahead of Randall. I thought Rollins was at least as good as Randall, and was a steal. I also wrote that Randall was over-drafted (should have taken Malcom Brown or traded down). I wrote some rants over taking Randall over Brown.

Now, I do think King has more talent than Rollins, and probably will play boundary CB ahead of Rollins at some point. That is a good problem to have, and of course we only have House for a year. Rollins needed groin surgery too, but he had to play the season out and get his needed surgery after the season, so as much or more slack should be accorded to Rollins as to Randall. Rollins was a real solid 2nd round pick, and should not be discounted. Rollins never had the talent to be a lock down CB, but he should be able to play at a noticeably above the average level. He should be a decent #2 or good #3 CB.

Tundraboy's picture

Totally agree about Rollins being afforded the same slack. Maybe he will surprise that much more with the attention focused predominantly on Randall.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Of course, you liked Raji and I went on rants against him. Relying on Raji was the reason I wanted Brown, and Brown had a real first round grade. We always agreed to disagree on Raji, since I never doubted Raji's talent, which I called immense. I just didn't think he liked football, and that looks to have been correct.

You're right, there were prominent sites that had Randall going high. Mayock had him 30th (and 20th in his mock), and NFL draft scout indeed had him mid first or high 2nd. Bunch of sites didn't have Randall in the top 64 (SI, SB Nation).

The mock drafts were different. Other than Mayock, I don't remember any national site mock drafting Randall in the first round. NFL.com, CBS and PFF all had him mocked 40th. Walter had him 38th. Randall had the proverbial 1st/2nd round grade from national sites. USAtoday had him in the 3rd round, My own recollection is I had him in the late thirties to mid forties. However, there's enough to dispute whether Randall was indeed over-drafted. I think Mayock is a clown, so I discounted his rankings, but lots of folks think better of him than I do.

nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000487830/article/2015-sevenround-nfl-mock-draft-round-2

[Edit: I was responding to a comment from another poster. Either I replied failed here or that poster's comments have been deleted. It happens below too. I don't care, just explaining the context of my post above.]

Nick Perry's picture

Excellent comment TGR... You and I both were scratching out heads when TT selected Randall over Brown. I also share your opinion on Rollins and have mentioned more than once people shouldn't forget about him. I wouldn't be surprised a bit if Rollins is the Packers starting slot CB at some time this season and keeps the job.

Since '61's picture

Andy - a good, thorough article. I have posted here in previous articles since the end of the 2016 season that Randall's technique and foot work were poor. And that while injuries were a factor in his 2016 performance he still needs to improve his technique if he is going to become a contributor in the Packers pass defense. Settling into one position should help. My concern is where have Joe Whitt and the Packers coaches been for the last 2 seasons? If we as fans have noticed Randall's issue with technique, space etc. surely the coaches have as well. Once again, I have to ask why does it take so long to correct basic issues? Randall may possess all the talent in the world but it is the coaches job to make sure that he harnesses that talent and applies it properly on the field. This will be Randall's 3rd NFL season, if he doesn't "make the jump" by now, is it his fault or the coaches? Beyond that we need to recognize that TT made a mistake in letting Hayward go. Probably the same for House but I would not have signed House for the money he signed with Jacksonville, at least not at that time. Hopefully, TT's drafting of King and Jones sends a message to both Randall and Rollins that they need to show up and play this season. We could have used at least one set of the 1s and 2s we've spent on CBs to build our LB or DL position groups. We cannot keep waiting for our 1s and 2s to take 3 or more seasons to develop. Our defense has held this team back long enough. Thanks, Since '61

Savage57's picture

As good of a job as the article does shining a bright light on a lot of reasons to be concerned about the athleticism and physicality, my observation is that Randall's biggest hurdle is going to be gaining mastery of the real estate between his ears.

I've noticed, as pointed out, Randall likes to peek and guess. Combine that with the shortfalls in technique, whether due to physical limits or just not being able to 'get it', there's more reason for pessimism than optimism.

But where I see Randall's biggest deficit show up, is on almost every play he gets scorched, and there are a lot of them, more often than not he's throwing his hands up in the air and looking around at his teammates for someone to blame.

I think this guy is out the league in a couple more years.

Nick Perry's picture

"But where I see Randall's biggest deficit show up, is on almost every play he gets scorched, and there are a lot of them, more often than not he's throwing his hands up in the air and looking around at his teammates for someone to blame."

That crap drove me nuts. Instead of quietly going back to the huddle or lining up to get ready for the next play, he's shown the opposing QB he's frustrated, angry, and not playing under control. Obviously I hope he's not out of the league anytime soon, but that crap has got to start. Instead of having a mini tantrum and blaming others around you, man up and make a play on the next snap!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"he's throwing his hands up in the air and looking around at his teammates for someone to blame."

Sounds to me like this is a coaching staff failure as well. Either him or his teammates are not prepared to play the scheme or Randall needs to be told to STFU and play football by Whitt.

Nick Perry's picture

I agree 100% there. I'm actually surprised Whitt lets him get away with it. I think that goes to show exactly how desperate they were last year for CB's.

lambeauguy's picture

Andrew you are quickly becoming one of my favorite Packers writers. It is so great to see someone willing to do the hard work to go beyond opinion and provide detailed analysis.

Thanks and keep up the great work!

The TKstinator's picture

Very frustrating. Apparently, he does have some talent, is a good worker, and has a very good position coach. Sounds like this is a make or break season for him.
No team can cure all its ills with first and second round draft choices and top shelf, mega expensive FA's.
The fan in me hopes for the best for this kid as well as for the team. The realist in me ... time will tell. It always does.

GatorJason's picture

Andy that was an excellent in-depth analysis. Ted should hire you or people with similar analytical skills.

Ted "I always draft the BAP" Thompson clearly over-drafted a college safety hoping he could be converted to CB while passing on a consensus All-American safety from Alabama (Landon Collins) who the NY Giants traded up to grab at the top of the second round. Wow. I'm not normally a TT basher but this is a clear miss in the first round. It either reflects poorly on the scouting department or his ability to evaluate talent if he took the leap of faith on his own to take DR so he could be converted to CB.

Scouting and talent evaluation is a tough business. It combines evaluation of intangibles like character and toughness with measurables like physical size, performance and athleticism. Ted does a good job filtering out the “bad people” but often reaches on players others pass on because they are too short, too slow, played against poor competition or have little experience at position they are being drafted. Taking risks is cool for mid and late round draft choices but way too risky to do in first or second round.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree with your point that Randall was over-drafted, but Landon Collins isn't the best example (except of course, in hindsight) and there was a lot of buzz about him still being available after the first round was over, so you're not wrong in terms of rankings). But...we had just drafted Clinton-Dix in 2014 and signed Burnett for big money, also in 2014. As it happens, Collins turned out to be good enough to displace Burnett and is probably a better football player than Dix (they play different positions), but that was a hard projection to make. I agree though that Malcom Brown and Collins had first round grades, and Randall did not. So, as you note, there was no BPA going on there. I am not a purist on BPA because I think some notion of need should be applied. NYG moved from 40 to 33 at a cost of a high 4th and a 7th. Not sure I'd have wanted to move down from 30 to 40, and NYG's 4th wouldn't have been enough and their 3rd would have been far too much.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Did you post that before, DPF? In any case, his best positions might be star or playing safety like he did in college. I am still high on Rollins, but everyone seems to have written him off completely.

Bearmeat's picture

What a fantastic article. It's also concerning for Packer fans. TT really looks like he struck out in 2015 with Randall and Rollins, and that could hurt the team for years.

croatpackfan's picture

Nice article. It would be nice if you'll do similar analysis with Quinten and LaDarius (Gunter)... I know I am asking almost to much, but...
Thank you for this article!

croatpackfan's picture

I do not know why this post is placed here as reply to previous post, because I wrote ir as direct comment to the article...

Nick Perry's picture

I've been bashed here at times when I've shared my opinion on Randall which is fine. We can't all agree on every player or everything all the time. But Randall's play last season, even before being injured was less than stellar. There were too many times Randall appeared to not want anything to do with what was happening on the field. Lacks confidence is putting it nicely, Randall played with ZERO confidence. Go watch week 2 against the Vikings. His groin was fine then and he was the worst ranked CB on pro football IIRC week 2.

So now he's healthy and wants to show everybody why he was drafted in the first round. For starters I'd like to see him be better than 107th out of 109. The thought of missing out on yet another 1st round pick or high draft pick is something I hope isn't going to happen.

BPEARSON21's picture

Andrew, this is an absolutely fantastic article. I absolutely love how you use not only facts but video evidence as well to make your point nearly unarguable. There are so many Packer fans, who even once they've seen the stats on Randall are still so ignorant and blinded that they find a way to have confidence in him.

I've said all off season he's a bust, it was a brutal pick by TT and once again our defense going into this year could very easily cost us a championship.

The only thing I disagree with is this comparison to Devante Adams and the leap he took. Devante is a WR... at least 50% of his success derives from another player (the quarterback) in this case Aaron Rodgers. A-Rod can make any player look elevated. At CB you have nobody. You're on an island all by yourself and it's up to you to make the play or not. This is why the comparison is unrealistic. Once again the Devante comparison is just noise created by Packer fan boys who have no original thoughts and think TT walks on water.

Andrew this is a hell of an article, keep em coming!!

4zone's picture

Why do we keep drafting out of position players and spend gobs of time trying to make them fit in where they have no experience?

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I believe Randall will be a solid upgrade over Hyde at the slot.

People remember Hyde's big plays with instinctive reads, but they forget his slow-footed trailing behind TE's and slot WR's leaving him in the dust.

Hyde will be used as a pure safety by his next team, which is where he belongs.

Randall posted the best combine time at the drill where you backpeddle, flipping your hips a couple directions, then turn and run (I forget the drill's name). He's light years ahead of Hyde in that regard, and it should serve him well.

As for his poor reads and technique, IT'S TIME JOE WHITT LIVES UP TO ALL THE ADORING HYPE HE RECEIVES. Honestly, I haven't seen anything special in Whitt's coaching these past few seasons.

If Whitt steps it up, look for Randall to dominate inside.

flackcatcher's picture

Both Whitt and Perry deserve all the praise for salvaging the secondary last year. The groin injuries both Randall and Rollins suffered were serious enough that both should have sat out all of last season. That both came back and played at all was amazing. Two things stand out here. One, that both players are very, very tough. In the NFL, how a player plays though pain can never be underrated. Two, both are superior athletes, who used their god given talents to overcome their injuries, and mental mistakes during last season. If they learn from last season, then both could become very special for the Packers this year. Excellent article Andrew, well done.

MarkLee22's picture

I can see Randall being a solid contributor to a much improved defense this year. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking. I'm a glass half full kind of guy. Let's hope he backs my comment up.

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