So far, we’ve profiled Ahmad Bradshaw, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and David Wilson. Today, we’ll round out the rookies by previewing Rueben Randle. The Giants used their second round draft pick to nab Randle. While Randle’s statistics at LSU won’t blow anyone away (53/917/8), savvy fans know that LSU is predominately a ‘run first’ team. Adding the 6’4″ product to Air Giants could provide immediate dividends. As we saw with A.J. Green last season, rookie receivers can post big numbers and flourish in the right system. Is Randle the next rookie wide receiver to break out in a big way?

Overview

Shortly after the Giants won the Super Bowl, Mario Manningham signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers. Manningham had his ‘Giant moment’ in the Super Bowl, making an acrobatic 39-yard catch that set-up the final Giant scoring drive. However, as a route runner, Manningham was far from polished and will likely have some difficulty as San Fran’s top option. As we’ve seen with Victor Cruz, the Giants have an eye for wide receiver talent and can create something from nothing. Randle brings a lot of size (6’4″) to the table and should be able to thrive on the outside.

The Positives

Hakeem Nicks’ recovery from his broken foot is an unknown. If anything, Nicks won’t return before August, giving Randle ample opportuinies to work with Eli Manning.  In summer practices, Randle can earn Eli’s trust and start building a solid relationship. For rookie receivers, first-year production is all based on opportunity–and Randle has it. Victor Cruz will line up in the slot, so the Giants will need outside presences to keep defenses honest.

The Negatives

It’s no given that Randle will be the Giants’ #3 receiver. Jerrel Jernigan and Ramses Barden have multiple years of experience. In addition, they know the Giants’ system. However, it’s telling that the Giants used such a high draft pick on a receiver. Nothing will be handed to Randle.

The Outlook

Historically, the proverbial deck is stacked against rookie receivers. Receivers must adjust to NFL speed, the difficulty of playing against top corners, and learning the unique playbooks/routes for each team. However, the NFL rewards those players who work and land in the right situation. As we’ve seen with the Giants, the ‘Air Giants’ are here to stay and the Giants’ have the league’s best duo of wide receivers. Add in Randle and the Giants have another dynamic option. Remember, Jake Ballard was released and Manningham signed with the 49ers. Essentially, 1,100 yards have been vacated. If Nicks is limited early on, even more yards will be vacated.

Currently, Randle is the 56th wide receiver drafted. I think this presents some great value. He’s worth a draft and stash.

2012 Projection: 45 catches, 580 yards, 6 TDs