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.
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.
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."