NEWPORT, R.I. — The 2018 NFL draft wasn't over for a week when a new mock draft for 2019 came out. Temple's Delvon Randall was surprised when coach Geoff Collins called him with the news: The Sporting News had projected Randall as the final pick of the first round, 32nd overall.
"I am trying not to let it get to my head, but honestly, it was a privilege," the 6-foot-1 215-pound senior safety said Tuesday during American Athletic Conference football media day.
After Collins told him, Randall received the same news from his mother. At that point, he had to look for himself at the mock draft.
"I saw it and felt proud," Randall said. "Honestly, I didn't achieve anything yet."
Randall was Temple's lone first-team all-AAC selection last year. He led the Owls with four interceptions and finished second with 80 tackles.
On Tuesday, he was named to watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the best defensive player in college football. He is also on the watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, also for defensive player of the year, and the Jim Thorpe Award, for the nation's top defensive back.
"Over the last seven years, I have been blessed to coach some great defensive backs and develop them to become Thorpe Award winners and first-round draft picks, and Delvon is in that conversation with those guys," said Collins, who was a defensive coordinator for six seasons in the Southeastern Conference before being named Owls coach in December 2016. "I am proud of him the way he manages our secondary. We run a complex NFL scheme. He makes all the calls, all the checks, and he does a tremendous job of making plays on the ball and in the run game."
What was more impressive about last year is that Randall was banged up the entire season, but he never missed a game and rarely missed a snap.
"It was all over from head to toe," Randall said. "The back of my Achilles, my ankle, my knee. It was a lot."
It wasn't enough to sideline him.
"I wanted to put my teammates and coaches first and try to do everything in my power to help out the team," said Randall, who has appeared in 41 games, with 27 starts.
If Randall played as well as he did while banged up, it's not a reach to suggest that his best is yet to come.
"There is no doubt," Collins said. "He is such a tremendous competitor, highly intelligent, tremendous ball skills."
And one of the true leaders on the team.
"Delvon Randall is by far one of the best players I played against my whole life," Owls quarterback Frank Nutile said. "His leadership skills and playing ability are second to none."
Randall insists his ego won't get bloated with the preseason accolades.