Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy came out and admitted that the team was playing Damarious Randall out of position all these years.
Randall, a free safety in college, was drafted by the Packers in 2015 and immediately moved to cornerback. The Packers had Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix entrenched at the safety position at the time. So why draft another safety when those guys weren’t going anywhere?
The Packers were in desperate need at cornerback after letting Tramon Williams and Davon House leave in free agency. They seemingly panicked and chose Randall in the first round and Quinten Rollins — an actual cornerback — in the second. Randall has now been traded to Cleveland and Rollins hasn’t lived up to this potential.
McCarthy said asking Randall to play cornerback was a mistake.
“We were going to play him in more of a safety/nickel type role,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s his natural position. I think we all recognize that. Him playing as much corner for us was the best thing for our defense at the time, with Morgan and Ha Ha and really utilizing the players the best way we can. Obviously, we’ve had issues outside with corners staying healthy the last two years and that’s a product of him playing out there, and he played it well when he was healthy, when he stays in the game.
“But I think if he can line up and play safety — and stay in games and play games — I think he could have as big a year as anybody’s ever had because he’s got tremendous range, he’s smart, he’s got a unique skill set. But yeah, I mean, free safety is where he wants to play.”
It’s interesting that McCarthy also appears to be suggesting health was an issue with Randall playing cornerback. We’ve talked about his lack of physicality before and Randall was injured pretty often during his career.
McCarthy went on to say that dumping Randall was in the best interests of everyone. The Packers received quarterback DeShone Kizer and swapped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds with the Browns.
“Wear out his welcome?” McCarthy said rhetorically. “At the end of the day you make decisions on what’s best for your football team, and Brian felt that as far as the trade opportunity, we felt like obviously you don’t make a trade you don’t feel you’re getting the best of. So this is the best thing for Damarious and this is the best thing for our football team.”
Randall’s much-publicized meltdown in the first Chicago Bears game in 2017 got him sent off the field. Randall was also openly critical of teammates and defensive coordinator Dom Capers, which McCarthy didn’t appreciate.
So did Randall wear out his welcome? That seems pretty obvious.