If you were drinking the Kool-Aid that Green Bay Packer GM Ted Thompson was serving prior to Thursday night’s NFL Draft in Chicago, you would iterate that this team never drafts based on need. They always go for the best player available.
But since they took a defensive back with the 30th pick in the first round, it sure as heck looks as though they did so this year. Damarious Randall, a 5-11, 196-pounder from the Pac-12’s Arizona State, appears to be a full-sized finger in the dike of a secondary that was left gushing in the free agency period earlier this spring.
It was the eighth time in ten years that the Packers chose a player on the defensive side of the ball with their first round pick.
Both Tramon Williams and Davon House left for greener (as in money) pastures. While they will likely go with Sam Shields and Casey Hayward as starting corners in 2015, Randall is poised to make a splash in the nickel and dime packages of defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
“He’s a good athlete and has good ball skills,” Thompson said at a press conference shortly after tabbing Randall. “He is a baseball player. He was pretty high on our board for a long time.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked QB Jameis Winston from Florida State with the Number One Pick overall. Winston has had off-the-field issues including sexual assault allegations for several years. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was pressed into service at Number Two by the Tennessee Titans.
Kenosha Bradford managed to have two of their alums earn first round nods. Trae Waynes, a DB from Michigan State went to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 11 and Wisconsin’s All-Everything running back Melvin Gordon III was grabbed up by the San Diego Chargers four slots later.
Gordon had broken the rushing record of one-time Bolt Ladainian Tomlinson in college and now has a chance to repeat the feat in the pros.
As for Randall, his 4.46 speed in the 40-yard dash turned more than a few heads as did his 106 tackles in 2014. He had three picks and a gaudy nine and a half tackles for a loss from his position at safety.
This is just the first of nine picks that TT has in this year’s three day amassing of college talent which will conclude on Saturday. The inscrutable Thompson isn’t saying who he will pick. But you can bet your last money it will be the BPA – Best Player Available. That’s because this franchise never has and never will draft for need.
Please pass the Kool-Aid. Make mine cherry.