Amid Rash of Injuries, S Damarious Randall Could Provide Valuable Depth for Seahawks
Approaching their upcoming game against the Dolphins, the Seahawks have managed to remain undefeated through the first three weeks of the regular season, but their secondary’s depth has certainly taken a massive hit through just three games due to a plethora of injuries.
Before kicking off against the Cowboys this past weekend, the team decided free safety Lano Hill wouldn’t be able to suit up, as he was still dealing with an injured back. To make matters worse, teammate Jamal Adams was forced to leave in the second half due to a groin injury and didn’t return before the final horn sounded.
Considering there’s a chance both Hill and Adams won’t play in Miami, Seattle has already promoted safety Ryan Neal, who entered Sunday's game after Adams departed, to the 53-man roster. Adding additional depth to their practice squad, the club also announced they’ve signed free safety Damarious Randall, who was cut by Las Vegas earlier this month.
Though Randall hasn’t appeared in a game yet this season, the 28-year old was still able to make a solid impression during his workout at the Seahawks’ practice facility earlier this week. Citing the team’s interest in him prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, coach Pete Carroll admitted the former first-round pick has been someone he’s admired for a long time and explained how his speed allows him to roam and make plays all around the field.
“Damarious [Randall] is a guy we saw through the process at Arizona State back in the draft times,” Carroll detailed. “We thought he was a really, really good athlete, all-around ballplayer, and has great speed. He’s had a solid playing career, the film that you watch of him is really strong and makes a lot of plays, covers a lot of ground, makes a lot of tackles. Again, he runs 4.3 something. He has a great range back there.”
Splitting time with the Packers, Browns, and Raiders over his first six seasons, Randall hasn’t had any issues getting his hands on the football, as he’s produced at least three interceptions and nine pass deflections in four of his last five campaigns. Additionally, the 5-foot-11 safety has also enjoyed a ton of success bringing players down to the ground, creating a combined 117 solo tackles since 2018.
While the Seahawks view him as a safety, the Florida native spent his first three seasons in the league at the cornerback position and split time at both outside spots as well. That said, his struggles in pass coverage ultimately moved him away from that position in 2018 and Carroll revealed the former Sun Devil is much more comfortable at the safety position and believes he’s better suited for that role anyway.
“He’s played corner in his past and he always felt like he was a safety, felt like he’s been at his best in his history and I see it that way too, watching the film and all that,” Carroll mentioned. “He was so fast there and everyone wanted to try him at corner and that was the thought, but he’s most at home playing on the backend.”
Once he transitioned over to safety, Randall was able to really hit his stride at creating havoc in the backfield with the Browns, proving himself to be a reliable weapon as a blitzer.
Since the 2018 campaign, the sixth-year pro has created eight quarterback pressures, four quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks, along with a 28.6 percent pressure rate over his 28 pass rushing attempts. Adding to his ability to create pressure in the backfield, he’s also recorded five tackles for loss during that same timeframe.
If Randall is needed this Sunday in Miami, then he’ll likely serve as a backup at the free safety spot and could potentially receive some playing time on Seattle’s special teams units. As for the defense as a whole, they must find a way to avoid surrendering big yardage plays this weekend and Carroll is confident that improved communication will help his players keep the ball in front of them moving forward.
“We have to quit making the errors that come from the newness and guys not being out there together and it’s been sloppy at times,” Carroll explained. “The communication hasn’t been as effective as it needs to be, we’re trying and we’re working at it. The principles are there and all that, but we’ve had a few breakdowns that we give a regular routine play access to the end zone and it’s just wrong. Getting beat over the top is a different story, but when the play is coming across the field and we’re in zone and they make touchdowns that’s not supposed to ever happen.
“We have to be better, try to recapture the emphasis of keeping the ball in front of us with a lot of intent. It’s really important we get this done, we got to slow guys down.”