Much-improved Randall could go as early as fifth round


Elisabeth Dillon

Defensive tackle Kheeston Randall (#91) has shown great progress while playing for the University of Texas (Daily Texan file photo from December 3, 2011).

Lauren Giudice

Kheeston Randall trained for the combine in Scottsdale, Ariz. — about 45 minutes from where Emmanuel Acho trained. The teammates saw each other frequently and both were vital leaders for the defense this season and aim to be drafted early come April.

“You [have] probably never seen a guy improve more than Kheeston Randall,” said head coach Mack Brown. “He really improved a lot for us.”

During his career at Texas, Randall played in 47 games and started 35. He had 98 tackles and four sacks. His senior year, he started all 13 games at defensive tackle and was an All-Big 12 second team selection. During Randall’s final season for Texas, he had 34 tackles, five of them for loss.

At the NFL Combine, Randall had a vertical jump of 34 inches — which tied him for 11th-best overall among defensive linemen. His five-second 40-yard dash was also impressive.

At 6-foot-5, 293 pounds, Randall played the nose tackle position for the Longhorns, but was rarely used in passing situations. He has strong instincts and hands, but Randall’s lack of playing during passing downs could negatively affect him come time for the NFL Draft. In addition, he is not very explosive — which could also hurt him.

According to the NFL combine analysis, “Not only is he usually pulled out of the game for obvious passing situations, but he is ineffective when he does get his chance, as he is purely a run defender and will almost give up on passing downs.”

The Washington Redskins could be a good option for Randall, who will probably be a fifth or sixth round pick.

Printed on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 as: Randall made significant strides as senior, could be hurt by lack of playing time in passing downs