Randall: A Great Group Of Guys On The D-Line

Posted Apr 8, 2013

Seventh-round draft pick paid close attention to veteran D-linemen.

Experience along the Miami Dolphins’ defensive front was critical to the success of the entire unit last season, but defensive tackle Kheeston Randall was a pleasant surprise among the rookies.   

The 6-foot-5, 309-pound native of Beaumont, Texas somehow stuck around until the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft despite winning first-team All-Big XII Conference honors at the University of Texas. He started 35 of 47 career games for the Longhorns and racked up 98 tackles (49 solo), four sacks and 21 tackles for loss, so he was intent on rewarding Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland for having the faith to use a draft choice on him.

It didn’t take long for Randall and fellow rookie defensive linemen Derrick Shelby and Olivier Vernon to show Ireland, Head Coach Joe Philbin, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and defensive line coach Kacy Rogers that they belonged. Randall and Shelby quickly became part of the regular rotation in the front four with proven veterans Cameron Wake, Paul Soliai, Randy Starks and Jared Odrick.   

“They were a great group of guys all together and you could turn to any one of them with problems you were having with technique or anything and they were always willing to help you,” Randall, who finished the season with eight tackles (six solo) in 12 games, told “Kacy Rogers is a great coach. Just the attention he pays to detail each week, game in and game out, we’re like mentally prepared for everything a team is going to throw at us offensively.”   

Figuring out which was his most memorable moment from his rookie campaign wasn’t at all difficult for Randall. He made his first career tackle in Miami’s season-opener at the Houston Texans and wound up with two solo tackles in that game. Randall’s only other multi-tackle game came at home against the St. Louis Rams at Sun Life Stadium when he had one solo tackle and one assist. Miami won, 17-14.   

Now Randall has an entire offseason to prepare for his second season in the NFL. He has used that time to become more active in the community and think about what he needs to work on in order to see his playing time increase more in 2013.   

“It was a good experience overall,” Randall said. “I definitely I feel like I have a lot longer to go in the game to get better. I’m looking forward to the process of becoming a better player in this league and it’s just that grind that I’m on. You’ve got to be focused for it. I have to just improve on my flexibility and my overall body strength, as well as the mental part of the game and studying more film during the offseason and just being more comfortable while I’m out there.”  

Once OTAs and mini-camps roll on, Randall will be able to take that first step towards gaining a better comfort level.
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