A few months ago, few saw Arizona State safety Damarious Randall as a first-round pick. But with the first round almost upon us, it’s now widely believed that Randall’s name will be called on Thursday night.
Mike Mayock of NFL Network said that heading into the Senior Bowl, no one was quite sure what to make of Randall. But his play there led teams to take notice of how well he fits into what today’s NFL defenses seek from the safety position.
“It’s become a pass-first league and he’s by far the best cover safety in college football,” Mayock said of Randall. “He’s gone from a third- or fourth-round Senior Bowl oddity to, I think, a first-round draft pick. I had to get over that a little bit because he’s not as good a tackler or as physical as, say, London Collins of Alabama. But I think he fits the NFL more.”
Early in the draft process, Collins was widely viewed as the best safety in the class. But while Collins may have been a better college safety, Randall seems to be the better fit for the NFL.
“In today’s pass-first NFL, the kid from Arizona State fits a lot of teams better,” Mayock said. “In today’s game, where’s the value? The value’s more in the cover safety than in the physical safety.”
From all indications, NFL teams think there’s first-round value in what Randall can bring to a defense.