Safety Damarious Randall is another veteran the Las Vegas Raiders are counting on to help the young players on their roster this season.
The 5-11, 196-pound Randall, who was selected in the first round (No. 30 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Arizona State by the Green Bay Packers, played three seasons with the Pack and two with the Cleveland Browns before signing as a free agent with the Silver and Black in April.
Randall took on the chore of being a mentor immediately after signing with the Raiders, sharing an apartment in the Las Vegas area with second-year safety Johnathan Abram.
“After I signed, I came out here to kind of start looking for somewhere to live and as I was looking for housing, me and him decided to rent out an AirBNB together and that’s just kind of what we did,” said Randall, who also has played cornerback in the NFL.
“And we actually became very, very close friends.”
Abram was selected by the Raiders in the first round (No. 27 overall) of the 2019 draft out of Mississippi State, and played well in the opener last year but was injured in that game and missed the rest of the season.
Randall sees big things ahead for his new friend.
“I honestly do not think there is a sky for him,” the 27-year-old Randall said. “I mean the sky is definitely the limit. I feel like he can do it all: be in the box, covering the middle of the field. He’s definitely a physical tackler. Just kind of looking forward to seeing him in live-action come here Sept. 13.
“ … I pride myself on making my teammates better. That’s the one thing I’ve been working on since I’ve been here. I kind of started training early with Abram, with Trayvon Mullen, with Keisean Nixon. I wanted to start to jell with the guys that I’m going to be out there with.”
However, Randall isn’t with the Raiders to simply be like a coach on the field. The guy can play.
General Manager Mike Mayock, who was a draft analyst for the NFL Network at the time, had Randall ranked as the No. 1 safety in the 2015 draft and made a big effort to sign him when he became a free agent this year, which paid off.
“He had played a lot of corner and people were split on where he should play in the NFL,” Mayock told ESPN Las Vegas. “When I called him for the first time in the offseason about signing him as a free agent, the first thing I did was remind him to go check my old college ranking and see where I had him. He started laughing and said, ‘Mayock, I know exactly where you had me, that’s why we’re on the phone right now.’
“ … What I believe is that (Randall) could be a wonderful complement to John Abram, Mayock added. “We’re going to pair (Abram) with Damarious and Erik Harris, and we think Damarious can bring some athletic ability where he can drop down and cover the slot. So, we think there’s a potential pairing there that could be exciting.”
As mentioned earlier, Randall can play all over the field and in five seasons has made 290 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 47 pass breakups and 14 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Randall likes playing safety in the Raiders defense but will show his versatility if they want him in the slot or on the corner in addition to helping the young cornerbacks.
“I mean this defense kind of needed a guy in the middle of the field who could roam sideline-to-sideline making plays, and I feel like I can bring that to this defense,” Randall said.
“ … (Also,) because I just kind of understand whenever corners are in tough situations and I can kind of maybe give a pointer, kind of more help over the top in certain situations so the quarterback can kind of get off that read and to just to try to help place our defense as much as I can.”
That’s obviously another reason Mayock made him a Raider.
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