Packers cornerback Damarious Randall slipped a little bit in 2016, but the Packers hope a shift to the slot cornerback spot will maximize his talents.
Randall intercepted three passes in both his rookie and sophomore seasons, but two of his picks last year came in a 38-10 win over the Seahawks. He missed six games with various injuries.
A safety at Arizona State, Randall moved to cornerback after the Packers chose him with the 30th pick of the 2015 draft. The Packers plan to use him as the slot, or nickel, cornerback in his third season. With teams increasingly using sub-packages on defense, that position is evolving into a more vital role.
“It’s more of a playmaking-type role. It’s a spot that any given play can be a game-changing play. It’s effort and running to the ball, that’s the type position it is,” Randall told ESPN.com.
Randall’s six career interceptions ties him with 2016 All-Pro Landon Collins for third among players drafted in 2015. Perhaps the slot cornerback role will suit him better than a pure safety or cornerback position.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy has been pleased with Randall’s offseason work.
“If there’s one that really jumps out to me, it’s Damarious Randall’s had an outstanding offseason,” McCarthy said. “You can see his play at the nickel, the star position, we call it.”
The Packers used their first two draft picks on defensive backs after ranking 31st against the pass last season, so Randall and the rest of the secondary have something to prove.