by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The New York Giants are a team deep in offensive talent, though that doesn’t mean that there won’t be opportunities for younger players to make an impact. Hakeen Nicks always seems to be banged up and Victor Cruz took a step back, to an extent, in 2012 looking more like a possession receiver as opposed to a big play threat. Does that mean a potential opportunity for second year WR Rueben Randle?
The question shouldn’t be if there is an opportunity, because there should be one. The real question is if there enough balls to go around (if everyone is healthy) and if Randle is capable of taking the next step forward.
Randle should open the season third on the depth chart, meaning he should be on the field often. While David Wilson is going to get an opportunity to lead the running game, would it be a surprise to see the Giants lean more on Eli Manning and company?
Manning threw the ball 536 times in 2012, placing him 13th in the league. That number could rise to the 575-625 range (there were five QBs who threw the ball 625 times or more in 2012), meaning targets likely won’t be a major issue.
As for Randle’s ability to step up and make plays, that doesn’t appear to be an issue either. Here’s what was said about him prior to the draft:
Walter Football (click here for the full scouting report):
“Randle is a polished wide receiver who has good, but not elite characteristics. He is a big receiver who runs good routes and has good hands. In the NFL, Randle is a possession receiver that could help move the chains.”
NFL.com (click here or the full scouting report):
“Randle is a tall receiver who displays good balance throughout his route and leans on his defender well to create separation. He is learning how to work routes downfield and is a strong catcher of both high and low balls. He has good flexibility and really came along as a junior with his overall field awareness and ability to diagnose coverages to find his spots in zones.”
Obviously there are some concerns, but there is no questioning the talent. While he is not a big play threat, he could step into the possession role allowing Victor Cruz to try and get back to his 2011 form. That would simply further open things up and the offense as a whole would be in better shape.
From a fantasy perspective Randle’s presence may do more for the other wide receivers than his own production. Expecting more than 40-50 receptions for 500-600 yards and a handful of TD would be a mistake. There’s just too much other talent on the field that needs to get the ball in their hands. Of course, if one of the top receivers goes down and Randle moves up to #2 on the depth chart the production could increase exponentially.
That said, his continued development would be a great sign for Randle and the Giants in total. With Hakeem Nicks a free agent at year’s end, it would be interesting to see what an impressive 2013 does for Randle and the Giants’ plans. From a dynasty perspective, he’s an intriguing prospect to stash.
Make sure to check out all of our 2013 preseason rankings: