(SportsNetwork.com) - Legendary former Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez once mused he would "rather be lucky than good."
And maybe that's a factual thesis, but the best-case scenario for anyone in any profession is marrying some of that luck with a good to great performance level.
Former Arizona State safety Damarious Randall is doing exactly that, impressing NFL teams with his skill set while taking advantage of the fact only one of his peers -- Alabama star Landon Collins -- is a no-doubt-about-it first-rounder in waiting.
Plenty of NFL teams need help at the safety position and only one will get to choose Collins, meaning some players will be filling a vacuum despite some deficiencies as prospects.
In Randall's case, at 5-foot-11 and under 200 pounds, he's small for the position despite having an in-the-box extra linebacker mind-set. That reality had most draft observers feeling Randall was earmarked for a third- or fourth- round grade.
Scouts have taken a different path, though, and have become enamored with Randall's effort level, athleticism and pure toughness. His NFL Combine numbers, which included a 4.46 40-yard dash and a 38-inch vertical leap, set the trajectory putting upward.
A sure tackler, Randall amassed 177 stops during his two seasons in Tempe and most of those hits packed a wallop on film - text-book, square-the-shoulders tackles that left his targets reeling.
Like most instinctive hitters, Randall seems to enjoy the physicality of his job and takes terrific angles, especially in close confines, something that is lacking in today's NFL, which tends to put a premium on athleticism above all else, making for some shoddy tackling on the back end.
Randall is far more comfortable closer to the line of scrimmage and is a willing and effective blitzer who has a good feel for underneath throws. He also has wide receiver experience at the junior college level, so his hands are better than most defenders and he understands the route tree.
The negatives come when Randall starts backing up and getting into space. His instincts start to dwindle as the grass opens up and his technique in man-to- man coverage is still raw. He allows speedier receivers to make a cushion disappear far too quickly and often takes false steps forward because his default setting is always on attack, a fault that makes him susceptible to play-action.
On paper, Randall's speed and athleticism, coupled with his size issues make him a candidate to move outside the numbers to cornerback. But scratch that line of thinking, he doesn't have the technique or man-to-man coverage skills to contribute at corner, at least early in his career.
What he does have is 14 pounds of added muscle since the end of his college career and a Ronnie Lott-like desire to stick his nose into the trash.
So while Randall might not have a safety's body, he has a safety's personality and his skills are about to join up with some serious good luck (the poor depth of the 2015 safety class) for a denouement that some have ending late in the first round.
"I'm hearing rumors that I'm the number-two safety, that a team could possibly jump and end up taking me in the late first round," Randall said at ASU's Pro Day. "But I don't think I'm going to have nothing on the first day. I'm probably going to be playing FIFA or something and just kind of watching the draft on the side."
The Sports Network's top 10 safeties:
1. - Landon Collins, Alabama
2. - Damarious Randall, Arizona State
3. - Shaq Thompson, Washington
4. - James Sample, Louisville
5. - Jaquiski Tartt, Samford
6. - Adrian Amos, Penn State
7. - Derron Smith, Fresno State
8. - Anthony Harris, Virginia
9. - Anthony Jefferson, UCLA
10. - Gerod Holliman, Louisville