One of the areas the New York Giants have let pretty much go untouched thus far in free agency is the wide receiver position. The extent of the action includes letting Hakeem Nicks walk and signing Mario Manningham.
It was smart to part ways with Nicks because the two seemed to grow apart over the last year. Also, Manningham gives New York some depth at wide receiver but he doesn’t present a major threat on the outside. With their lack of moves in terms of acquiring a No. 1 or No. 2-caliber receiver, it seems that the Giants have a lot of confidence in Rueben Randle.
Randle will be heading into his third year in the NFL next season. The Giants drafted him in the second round of the 2012 draft with aspirations of seeing him become a big-play receiver.
Randle had a very interesting 2013 season. At times, he made big splashes in the receiving game but other times was nowhere to be found. For example, Randle led the team in touchdowns, with six, but also had just two games in the entire season where he recorded five or more catches.
The talent is clearly there with Randle and 2013 was absolutely a step in the right direction. However, can Randle really be trusted to carry the load outside of Victor Cruz in the slot?
Not only was Randle not a consistent target in 2013, but chemistry issues emerged at times between Randle and Eli Manning. Blame whoever you want but too often the two were not on the same page with the way they were reading a defense. (In this case, I tend to side with Manning because of his experience. I could be wrong, but that’s the way I see it.) The miscommunications led to turnovers that really plagued the Giants’ offense.
Randle needs to continue to improve if he is going to take on a bigger role in the offense. He needs to emerge as a reliable target for Manning and become a receiver that can help jump-start the offense. He didn’t show that enough in 2013 and, if things stay the same, the offense will suffer.
Chemistry is something that can be continually developed and a good chunk of this offseason will surely be dedicated to just that. There is also still time for the Giants to bolster their corps of wide-outs. New York could even spend their first-round pick on another outside threat like Texas A&M‘s Mike Evans. However, the way they’ve let the position go to this point seems to point towards a bigger role for Randle in 2014.