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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Illinois DL Keith Randolph Jr.

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From now until the 2024 NFL Draft takes place, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today, a scouting report on Illinois defensive lineman Keith Randolph Jr.

#88 Keith Randolph Jr., IDL, Illinois – 6033, 296 pounds. (Junior)

Senior Bowl

MEASUREMENTS

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Keith Randolph Jr. 6033/296 9 6/8″ 32 4/8″ 80 6/8″
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
DNP DNP DNP

THE GOOD

-Randolph is a gifted athlete on the interior; plus-foot quickness and coordination –
-Experience playing anywhere from a 0 to 5 technique for Illinois
-Flexible and powerful hips; bends well
-Flashes of high-upside penetration skills
-Utilizes length well; comfortable playing outside of his frame
-Difficult player to move at the point of attack
-Legitimate upside to tap into
-Nice closing speed to finish plays 

THE BAD

-Lacks consistency from game to game
-Base gets narrow at times; loses power
-Can be passive getting off of blocks
-Late off the snap too often 

BIO

-Born Sept. 1, 2001 (22 years old)
-Started 22 games at Illinois
-Finished Illini career with 159 total tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, six pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble
-Randolph recorded 49 total tackles, four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks during the 2023 season
-Third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2022; Honorable Mention selection in 2023
-Selected as a team captain prior to the 2023 season
-Was considered a consensus three-star recruit coming out of Belleville West in Illinois
-Held scholarship offers from Illinois, Florida State, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Minnesota, Indiana and Boise State among others 

TAPE BREAKDOWN

In the run game, Randolph is a pretty easy evaluation. He clearly understands how to gain extension. Playing outside of his frame, he doesn’t allow opposing offensive linemen to get into his frame very often. His hand strength is tremendous, Randolph getting that initial shock at the point of attack. 

From there, Randolph is able to peek and find the ball carrier. Even with only one arm free, he is able to finish plays with power and is a sure tackler. In the run-centric Big Ten, Randolph was able to rise to the occasion on a week-to-week basis. 

Randolph uses every inch of his length to keep opposing offensive linemen off him. He also used his hand and foot quickness to get around blocks in the run game. This allows him to create quick pressure and force running backs to change their track.

You see that on this play where Randolph is at right defensive tackle. He is able to create pressure and help finish the play for a tackle for loss. That combination of quickness and brute strength makes him a potential plus-member in the run game. 

Randolph isn’t asked to one gap a ton and work in pursuit. When he is, you can really see that quickness and closing speed. On this play against former Penn State left tackle Olu Fashanu, you can see that twitchiness. 

The talented defensive tackle is able to cross Fashanu’s face and create instant pressure. Randolph quickly closes the gap and makes the play. That’s really impressive stuff for a defensive tackle who weighs nearly 300 pounds. 

The quickness that Randolph possesses allows him to also make plays on the front side. He is able to use his quick hands to get off blocks and free himself to make plays in the run game. 

The lateral mobility that Randolph showcases is really interesting to see. That should allow him to make a lot of plays working toward the sideline. Randolph has good range for his size, having the ability to finish plays. 

Despite being asked to do a lot of the dirty work for Illinois, you can see the quickness and twitch that Randolph brings to the table. Lined up as the left defensive tackle on this play, Randolph hits a quick arm over for the easy pressure. The closing speed for someone his size is awesome to see. 

Randolph’s ack production in 2023 won’t pop off the screen. When you turn on the film, you can quickly see that he impacts the game in that department a lot more than the box score would reflect. Impact in the passing game is definitely on the table, an area where Randolph could take a step forward in the future in a new role. 

You don’t often see interior defensive linemen be able to bend the track very much, but that’s something that Randolph brings to the table. As the right defensive tackle, he attacks the upfield shoulder and works to the quarterback. 

Randolph is able to work that outside shoulder and show the talent to win up the field. His closing speed allows him to close the gap quickly, getting pressure. As he is let loose more, Randolph has the chance to become a major asset in pass defense. 

That bend is even evident when Randolph is asked to attack off the edge at times. At the right of the screen, you see him win the edge against the left tackle and flatten to the quarterback up the track. That is a rare, rare aspect of his game. 

While Randolph won’t be used from that alignment often, it gives you the opportunity to appreciate just how athletic he is. That gives you a peek into his upside as a pass rusher. If utilized correctly, Randolph could become a major contributor in getting to the quarterback. 

Illinois’ usage of Randolph was his biggest hindrance as a prospect. The Illini asked him to two-gap a ton and do a lot of dirty work at the point of attack, resulting in a little bit of a passive approach. Randolph is a gifted athlete who has penetration upside and would ideally be suited for a one-gap-style system. He will need to up the aggressiveness and be more assertive off of the snap. 

Conclusion

Randolph is a scheme-diverse defensive lineman who was asked to play from multiple alignments while at Illinois. His skill set plays best as a three-technique where his athleticism and penetration skills can be maximized. If used properly, Randolph can be a more impactful player on the next level. There is a ton of upside to tap into. 

Projection: Fourth round
Depot Draft Grade: 7.5 – Rotational Player (4th Round)
Games Watched: vs Penn State (2023), vs Minnesota (2023), vs FAU (2023)





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