Damarious Randall played free safety in college. When the Green Bay Packers drafted him, they immediately said he would play cornerback.
Randall had the talent and the tools, but his callous attitude and lack of physicality ultimately doomed him at the cornerback position. So the Cleveland Browns, who acquired Randall via trade last week, are moving him back to free safety.
It’s unknown what Randall can do as a free safety, since he’s never played the position in the pros. However, the Browns are going to give it a go. The move will allow them to put Jabrill Peppers, who played linebacker, cornerback, safety and receiver at Michigan, at strong safety. That’s a much better position for Peppers, who is thought of as a much better tackler than a cover man. It will also give Randall, when he wants to try, just one responsibility — deep middle.
Seems like a win for everyone. Although perhaps the Packers should have tried this earlier. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the team’s current free safety, can’t cover anyone. Hell, he can’t even tackle anyone most of the time. His lapses in judgment and stupidity are legendary. The unfortunate and stupid fact is the Packers basically had the same player in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix — two strong safeties — even though Clinton-Dix played free safety in college — both of which are probably better off playing close to the line of scrimmage.
I will never quite understand why the Packers draft guys who play one position in college and then transition them to another in the pros. It’s happened with the following high draft picks in recent years — Nick Perry (DE), Datone Jones (DE), Damarious Randall (FS), Ty Montgomery (WR). While Clinton-Dix was actually given the role he had in college, he clearly sucks at it.
I’m not suggesting the Packers should have kept Randall around. They were obviously tired of his act. And they almost had to play him at cornerback last year because of injuries.
But I could also see Randall going to Cleveland, playing at the position he belongs in and turning into a pretty nice player. Kind of like Micah Hyde has in Buffalo. And yes, Hyde was a cornerback in college, but he never had the speed to play that position at a high level in the pros. Move him to safety, as the Packers should have done and the Bills did, and he’s an All-Pro.
But hell, we all know the Packers can’t develop defensive backs. Only when they play elsewhere do they actually end up being any good.