Second-year wide receiver Rueben Randle will be a key figure for the New York Giants in a lot of ways during the 2013 season. His play could help determine how potent the offense is in 2013, as well as the long-term future of what the receiving corps looks like. Let's look more closely at Randle as we continue our player-by-player breakdown of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp later this month.
2012 Season In Review
Coming out of a passing-challenged college program at LSU it figured that Randle would face a learning curve at the NFL level before making a huge impact. He ended up catching 19 passes for 298 yards (15.7 per catch) and three touchdowns. Randle had a six-catch game Week 5 vs. the Cleveland Browns and hinted at what might be to come in 2013 with a four-catch, two-touchdown performance in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Let's put Randle's performance in perspective by comparing it to some other first year receivers in the Tom Coughlin/Kevin Gilbride/Eli Manning era. Number of catches in parenthesis:
- Steve Smith (8)
- Mario Manningham (4)
- Ramses Barden (1)
- Jerrel Jernigan (0)
- Hakeem Nicks (47)
Bright. Even with star receivers Nicks and Victor Cruz still in the fold offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Randle is "going to be out on the field unless something disastrous happens."
Gilbride further explained the growth he sees in Randle:
"He always caught the ball well but maybe didn’t always run the routes as precisely, as crisply, as you wanted. He didn’t have quite the understanding you wanted," Gilbride said "He looked (during OTAs and mini-camp) like a guy that has been here for five or six years. ... To see him growing like that was a great step forward for him, which will help us down the road."
As we have discussed before, just how much development the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Randle shows in his second season will go a long way toward determining the long-term future of Nicks, a free agent-to-be, with the Giants.
What are your expectations for Randle in 2013? Vote in the poll and let us know.