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I didn't see it coming; I failed you

Damarious Randall gives Packers versatility


Ray from Los Angeles, CA

That was a pick I could not have seen coming. With Clinton-Dix and Randall drafted in the first rounds, do you see Randall sliding to corner to play immediately?

I see him becoming a corner immediately, but I think it's unfair to expect him to play a prominent role at corner immediately. He has corner technique to learn. He adds depth at corner immediately, but I think his most immediate contribution will be on special teams. A player with Damarious Randall's physical talent and aggressiveness can be a game-changer on special teams.

Nate from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, I am more than happy with our first-round pick. His flip-the-hips agility and acceleration in directional change is solid. How do you think the Packers will utilize him as a corner in certain packages?


He appears to be most comfortable as a centerfielder in single-high coverage, with the speed, quickness and instinct to play sideline to sideline. He's especially skilled at playing the ball in the air, as you would expect of a centerfielder. As he settles back into the cornerback position, he'll likely be used in the slot to cover No. 3 and No. 4 receivers in nickel and dime packages. The thing you like about him right away is that when he's on the field, your defense becomes more athletic. Based on what Ted Thompson said, that's what the Packers like about him the most.**

Brian from Glendora, NJ

Feeling nervous about picking a short defensive back and Chicago's pick of Kevin White. I am surprised Malcom Brown wasn't the pick since he was there. My guess is they feel they can find a nose tackle later?

You're feeling nervous about the pick because you didn't know the name. I spent weeks telling you about Brown, Eddie Goldman, Byron Jones, Eric Rowe, Stephone Anthony, Eric Kendricks, Denzel Perryman, etc., and out of nowhere comes Damarious Randall. I feel as though I failed you.

Aaron from Fort Wayne, IN

Looks like wide receiver fever is at it again. Six picked in round one. Vic, do you think most teams reached for these receivers, or would they have been snatched up by other teams before they came around again in the second round?

This year's draft was not especially deep with big-guy talent in the first round. That's why there were so many wide receivers picked in the first round. When a new regime with a high pick makes a wide receiver its first pick, instead of a cornerstone big guy or quarterback, it says something about the draft's lack of physically dominant players. The big-guy talent will surface today.

Mike from Crystal Lake, IL

Vic, can Randall flip his hips?

From everything I've read, he has all of the physical talent you want in a cornerback. The issue is going to be learning coverage technique. When his technique equals his physical talent, look out. That's what I'm getting from the draftniks. What if he's unable to learn corner-coverage technique? Then you've got a ball-hawking, hard-hitting safety.

Jon from Sheboygan, WI

I think Ted is losing it. There is no way an undersized safety that struggles tackling was BAP, but I hope I'm wrong.

The Packers drafted Randall to be a cornerback, where his size is just fine. Everything I've read suggests he is a lights-out tackler. One draft report on Randall said he's a punishing tackler.

Mac from Shorewood, WI

Looking back on previous "Ask Vic" articles, I see no mention of Randall. Was he even on your radar?

Not at all. Tony Pauline never mentioned Randall because I never asked Tony about safeties. This is an example of crystal ball scouting. Somebody saw something in Randall that made him a cornerback prospect. In my opinion, that's the kind of confident, aggressive, out-of-the-box scouting that leaves no stone unturned in the search for talent.

Dan from New Berlin, WI

Vic, did anything surprise you about the first round? I expected to see more trades.

I did, too, but I had mentioned in a recent column trading back might be difficult because a lot of teams probably wouldn't want to trade up. Why trade into the first round to draft players carrying second-round grades? I think we're going to see trading increase dramatically today and tomorrow.

Kevin from Neptune, NJ

Randall looks like he will absolutely address a need on special teams, maybe even as a return man. Did the Packers select him to play at corner, or is that a decision not yet made?

He was picked to play corner, but I view him as a corner/safety hybrid. I can see him playing in a lot of different roles, which is the new-breed NFL defensive back. Spread offenses are requiring defenses to be multiple. It's all about matchups, and the more your guys can do, the more you'll be able to avoid bad matchups.

Matthew from Kingsford, MI

Is he a starter? Why would anyone pick a project with the first pick with starters still on the board? I can't wait to see your snarky, sarcastic answer for this pick.

Randall was picked, in my opinion, because the Packers like his upside. They see talent they believe they can develop into something special.

Adam from Tampa, FL

One thing my fellow Packers fans might be missing is Randall has the potential to fill Charles Woodson's old role in our defense. He has a unique skill set that allows him to play all over the field and to be utilized in blitz packages (I bet Dom is thrilled). Love to hear your thoughts on this.

First, he has to refine his corner-coverage technique. My expectation for Randall this season is for him to play a major role on special teams as he develops his coverage technique by playing inside in nickel and dime situations. Yes, he has the talent to be used in a lot of roles, and I have no doubt Coach Capers will create specific roles for Randall.

Peter from Belleville, WI

Vic, is the pick a surprise?

I was expecting the Packers to pick Malcom Brown. I was surprised Brown was still on the board.

Tom from Riverside, CA

Vic, were you surprised by any of the first-round selections? Did any team reach?

The first half of the first round included the names we expected. The surprises began in the second half of the first round, which Tony Pauline had predicted, due to the lack of first-round grades. There was a mini run of big guys that seemed a little reachy to me.

David from Tacoma, WA

Vic, Jon Gruden said he thought the Packers' pick had suspect tackling. Would you as a GM pick someone that had a higher ceiling but not as good at tackling, or a lower ceiling but an excellent tackler?

Gruden was on a tackling crusade last night. He clobbered Vic Beasley and Trae Waynes for bad tackling. Nothing I have read about Randall spoke of him as a poor tackler. It's just the opposite.

Harry from Rochester, NY

Vic, tell us your likes and dislikes about the Packers' first-round pick, Damarious Randall?

I like his athletic ability. I like his versatility and his upside. I wish he was a plug-and-play kind of guy, but the Packers are committed to their draft-and-develop approach, and Randall will benefit from that kind of patience.

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