Damarious Randall has found himself in prime position just ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft. He's become a darling of big drafts and popular pundits across the country after closing out his career as a Sun Devil.
A bouncy, instinctive tackle machine, Randall has propelled himself into conversation as being the top safety in this year's class. After productive junior and senior years, it's no surprise that scouts are falling in love with the ASU product, however there are signs that he is still a very raw talent.
Weight: 196 pounds
College Career: Randall was a high-volume producer for the Sun Devils out of the secondary, compiling 106 total tackles (87 solo) his redshirt senior year after racking up 71 his redshirt junior year, his first with ASU. Randall played at Mesa Community College before committing to the Sun Devils in 2011, and had been a baseball player coming out of high school. He earned all-Pac-12 First Team honors in 2014, was invited to the NFL Combine, as well as the Reese's Senior Bowl.
Strengths: Instincts. Randall was more than often left all alone in single-high coverage while head coach Todd Graham routinely dialed up five-, six-, and seven-man blitzes. Sharp instincts coupled with his dynamic athleticism allowed him to routinely find himself in opportune situations to come up with or force turnovers.
Randall is also a pretty reliable cover man when asked to stick players in man coverage. He also possesses great burst, and does a particularly good job of using it when called on to blitz out of the secondary. He's a natural center fielder in the defensive backfield.
Weaknesses: Instincts. While keen, Randall tends to be too reliant on his instincts at times...
Randall will tend to tend get caught overflowing on running plays and as a result take poor angles, which can often lead to wide open running lanes for ball carriers. Despite his high volume of tackles, he isn't the most physical safety and usually doesn't get involved on gang tackles if he can avoid them. This could theoretically be a strength, although by calling his protective play intelligent one concedes that his smaller stature proves too influential a role in his play. In the passing game, the only knocks on him include his tendency to gamble on intercepting the ball and how often he squandered potential interceptions.
Outlook: There's definitely legitimate reason that Randall has garnered such high praise throughout the draft process. He's the top cover safety in this draft and has demonstrated he's able to serve multiple roles on the field. At the very least, Randall comes in and starts as a gunner on special teams and sees some rotational time in the secondary in passing situations. While I personally wouldn't go as far as to say he's worthy of a first round grade, I am intrigued by the potential he possesses because of his athleticism and nose for the ball.
Round Projection: late 1st/early 2nd round
Prediction: Round 2, Pick 2 (34th overall), Tampa Bay Buccaneers