Bay Packers’ Damarious Randall hydrates during NFL football
training camp, Saturday, Aug. 1 , 2015, in Green Bay, Wis
GREEN BAY —
Damarious Randall is learning about life as an NFL cornerback on the
If the Green Bay
Packers' first-round draft pick is going to make mistakes, it might as
well happen in training camp against some of the best offensive
playmakers in the business in teammates Aaron Rodgers and Jordy
Having to face that
kind of test each day helps make the high points of his first NFL camp
stand out, like when he picked off Rodgers in practice earlier this
"Just the pace
of everything, just trying to learn how fast the NFL is really
played," Randall said Tuesday. "Everything is starting to
slow a little bit."
It's a solid start
for the defensive back out of Arizona State, where he played safety
out of necessity. But Randall played cornerback earlier in his career,
and he said he's still comfortable at that position.
The Packers liked his
potential enough that they took him with the 30th overall pick to help
replenish depth following the departures of veteran cornerbacks Tramon
Williams and Davon House in free agency.
comfortable. Looks like his understanding is high. He's very natural
(with) a lot of things," coach Mike McCarthy said about Randall.
Hayward, a fourth-year cornerback who has shown flashes of playmaking
ability, would appear to be a favorite to fill the starting job
opposite of Sam Shields, though it's too early for McCarthy to name a
McCarthy does know he
has youthful options at cornerback.
"Well, I think
the corners as a group are off to a good start. They're getting their
hands on some balls, as you saw again today," he said Tuesday.
"Everybody's working hard, looks good. Don't have a depth chart,
sorry, for you yet."
Staying healthy might
be the biggest key for Hayward.
He had surgery after
the season for a stress fracture in his foot, and the recovery kept
him out of offseason workouts. It wasn't until about a couple weeks
before the start of camp in mid-July that Hayward said he was full go.
now. I'm still getting more comfortable and confident with each
practice," Hayward said last week.
Among other options
at cornerback: Micah Hyde, a third-year player out of Iowa who has
shown the ability to play corner and safety; and Quinten Rollins, a
second-round pick out of Miami (Ohio) who's practicing again after
missing the first few days of camp with a hamstring injury.
Undrafted free agent
LaDarius Gunter, out of Miami, has also made a couple impressive
plays, building on a nice showing he made in offseason workouts.
But out of the
rookies, Randall will draw the most attention. He figures to play a
good share of snaps in the regular season even if Hayward wins the
Randall knows it will
be important for him to quickly forget about the bad plays in camp,
like when Nelson beat Randall deep down the right sideline to haul in
a perfectly thrown touchdown pass from Rodgers.
For a rookie, a
negative can turn into a learning experience.
"I just ask a
lot of questions," Randall said. "It's like any time I do
get beat on something, I would ask (Nelson and receiver Randall Cobb),
'Why? How?' to just try to figure out things."
NOTES: Clay Matthews
missed a second straight day of practice after McCarthy said he was
holding out the star linebacker as a precaution because of knee
soreness. Matthews insisted Monday that he would be fine. ... RB Eddie
Lacy was pulled near the end of practice because of what McCarthy said
was a sore foot. ... WR Jared Abbrederis remains out with a