Why does Randall make sense?
The Dallas Cowboys have been long linked to former Seattle Seahawk and Baltimore Raven Earl Thomas. His plea for Jason Garrett to come grab him after a 2017 loss to the Seahawks started what has been a never-ending quest to grab the All-Pro. That begs the question, what makes Thomas such an important commodity?
The best answer is his ball skills. In ten seasons, the safety has caught 30 interceptions and defended 71 passes. (This is wrinkling my brain and it’s probably wrinkling it even more because I’m writing this at 2 o’clock in the morning.)
For a defense that has long commanded turnovers, he was the “perfect” fit as a safety in a single-high alignment. He could use his range to cover the deep middle of the field and use his good ball skills to make plays. Now with a defense that emphasizes “playing the ball” as opposed to “playing the man” there could not be a better opportunity for Thomas to showcase his skill set.
However, that seems to be all the good attributed with Thomas’s name right now. Off the field and in the locker room, Thomas record as of late has been less than ideal to put it kindly. His behavior was bad enough the Ravens, a well-respected organization, ate up a lot of money to release the safety after he made the Pro-Bowl last season.
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Enter Randall. While Randall doesn’t have the resume of Thomas, his best trait is his ball skills. Having caught 14 interceptions in the last five seasons, Randall is on pace with Thomas. The mental processing is not as good, but unlike Thomas, Randall is reaching his athletic prime. If either were to get beat in coverage, Randall could recover quicker.
Considering scheme fit, Randall is also better in a two-high alignment. (This is not to say Thomas can’t play in a two-high alignment, Randall is his best here) If the Dallas Cowboys are honest with how much they plan using the alignment, they could unlock the best of Randall. All of this would be at a cheaper price than the former Seahawk and would not likely ruin team chemistry, a risk that comes with Thomas.
How the Dallas Cowboys secondary performs this season will be interesting to monitor as the team has undergone an identity and scheme change. The current safety depth is a cause for concern given last season’s play. While it is unclear how Randall will get along with the coaching staff, his game should be a good fit for what this defense is looking to do; create turnovers and be physical at the point of attack.