Raiders: What to expect from newly acquired FS Damarious Randall

Raiders, Damarious Randall (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Raiders, Damarious Randall (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders recently signed safety Demarious Randall to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million. What should we expect from the five-year veteran?

Even before the loss of safety Karl Joseph, the Las Vegas Raiders were in need of a true free safety, one that can play single high and deep zone. Both Joseph and Johnathan Abram are more of box safeties, so having each on the field at the same time would be sort of redundant.

The Raiders and Cleveland Browns basically swapped safeties, with Joseph signing a one-year deal with the Browns while Randall also signed a one-year contract with the Raiders.

Randall is a five-year veteran who despite playing safety in college, switched to cornerback and played there for three-seasons in Green Bay with the Packers.

After being traded to the Browns back in 2018, he switched back to his original position of safety and earned a 72.8 grade per Pro Football Focus, the highest mark in his career thus far.

A nice thing about Mike Mayock being the general manager of the Raiders is that he did a lot of the scouting reports for which means we get to see what he thought about certain players he covered back then. Damarious Randall is one such player.

On Randall’s scouting report from, Mike Mayock raved about his talent stating the following.

"“Randall is what today’s free safety is all about. He is by far the best cover safety in this draft. Randall can play man-to-man; he has cornerback-level cover skills. You give up some physicality, but his coverage ability is where the NFL is going. Remember Jimmie Ward was a first-rounder last year (to the 49ers) with a similar skill set.”"

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Mayock highlights his man-cover skills, so it makes sense that the Packers switched him to cornerback. But, despite being a ball hawk at cornerback for Green Bay (with three interceptions in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons and four in 2017) he was up and down as an overall player.

His statistics and skill set suggested the Packers may have made a mistake trading him while still on a rookie deal for our very own DeShone Kizer.

However, reports indicate that Randall had “soured the mood within the locker room” to the point where even his teammates wanted him gone, and that is despite his play picking up in the weeks preceding the trade.

Then came 2018 with the Browns where Randall was moved back to his original position at free safety and showed that it should’ve been his position from the get-go of his career.

Randall recorded 85 combined tackles, two tackles for a loss, four interceptions, and nine pass deflections, while only giving up 23 receptions.

Things were looking up for the then four-year pro, but then came an injury-riddled 2019 season where Randall missed Weeks 2-3, Weeks 7-9, and Week 13.

One of those games was missed due to a concussion, one due to suspension, and the rest due to a nagging hamstring injury.

It was the first season he didn’t get at least three interceptions (he had 0) and taking a look at his advanced stats shows that he had an inconsistent year. He was targeted 42 times, gave up 24 catches for 310 yards. Those numbers look pretty good, but he also gave up eight touchdowns.

Now on to what he brings to the Raiders defense skill-set wise. While his man-coverage skills aren’t bad, he excels playing deep zone or single high, as he has the speed, range, and knows what angles to take when playing the ball.

The Raiders haven’t had a good cover safety since Reggie Nelson in 2016, and that was for only one season before father time caught up to him.

When it comes to his ability against the run, it is not his strong suit. While he at times shows the ability to make plays against the run, he isn’t physical enough. Early in his career, he had a reputation for shying away from contact.

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Randall is better suited sitting back and being the last line of defense, as his ability to take the right angle playing the ball in coverage shows in his pursuit angles when tracking ball carriers down from center field.

In that sense, he is good against playing the run, which is all the Raiders should need from him as Abram will definitely be the box safety.

It’s also possible they use Randall in the slot and move Lamarcus Joyner back to free safety, or even mix and match both of them at both spots.

While he wasn’t the best cornerback he was better playing inside covering the slot than he was on the boundary. It’s clear that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther likes versatility in defensive players and this signing is more evidence of that.

All in all the signing of Randall of only one-year, $3.25 million is high potential with practically no risk. It is still very possible the Raiders will draft a safety early, but this signing has made it more of a luxury and not so much a top priority.

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Mayock and company have done a good job this offseason putting the team in a position where they can be more flexible in the draft, and the signing of Randall is yet another acquisition that does just that.