Safety at corner: Packers' 1st-round pick Randall adjusting

June 5, 2015

Green Bay Packers first round draft pick Damarious Randall (23) and Skye PoVey (38) stretch during NFL football minicamp Friday, May 8, 2015 in Green Bay, Wis.

GREEN BAY Damarious Randall leaned over at his locker and did a contemplative stare following his second full day of offseason workouts.

There is a lot to take in as the first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers.

"It's just more like still surreal to me. Just sitting here kind of learning everything," Randall said in a quiet locker room. "Right now, I'm just learning the playbook and taking it day by day."

The defensive back out of Arizona State suggested that the "pinch-me" moments of those early days of being an NFL rookie might dissipate by the first preseason game, still more than two months away. Randall might be slightly behind other rookies on the field after getting very limited action because what was described as a minor ankle injury.

But there is plenty of time for Randall to brush up on the playbook, get the timing down and learn the nuances of playing at NFL speed. When it comes to measuring the progress of rookies at this time of year, coach Mike McCarthy is focused on intangibles.

"The priority is the mental, the cohesiveness that they're able to form with their teammates," McCarthy said. "You're teaching them (what) their job responsibility is ... and the things they need to do each and every day.

"Learn how to practice," McCarthy continued, knocking on a wooden podium three times for emphasis. "We've had four (practices) and we're doing a good job ... It usually takes a week or two for your team to learn how to practice together."

There is another adjustment that Randall must make this summer.

The 30th overall pick in the first round, he played safety in college. The Packers see him more as a corner, which is a position of need following the departures of veteran starter Tramon Williams (Browns) and up-and-coming backup Davon House (Jaguars) in free agency.

"Really, no different," Randall said about the move to corner. He played the position in junior college and high school.

"A lot of people say that I move like a corner, and that just feels like my natural position," Randall said.

While he may have not seen much practice time earlier in the offseason, Randall studied the playbook. The Packers also like the quickness and instincts that he has developed in part from his days playing shortstop.

Acclimating to the NFL overall might go a little smoother thanks to Randall's locker room neighbor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The Packers' first-round pick last year, Clinton-Dix played well in his rookie year and partnered with Morgan Burnett to turn safety into a position of strength.

Clinton-Dix seems more at ease this offseason. He also looks like he has added a little muscle to his 6-foot-1 frame.

Compared to Randall, Clinton-Dix is a seasoned vet.

"He just has to come in, be ready to work," Clinton-Dix said about the rookie. "He's been a little banged up early on. ... But he's looking good, he's playing fast. That's all that matters right now."

 












 

Associated Press