by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
May 24, 2013
Everyone knows that the Giants two studs at wide receiver are Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. But there has been a changing of the guard behind these two each of the last two seasons. In 2011, the #3 receiver on this team was Mario Manningham. That season, Manningham had 39 receptions behind Cruz (82 catches) and Nicks (76 catches). In 2012, Cruz (86 catches) and Nicks (53 catches) still led the way again despite Nicks’ injury woes. Interestingly, Domenik Hixon had the same number of receptions as the #3 receiver as did Manningham the year before with 39.
Manningham (free agent to 49ers in 2012) and Hixon (free agent to Panthers in 2013) are gone. The leading contenders to replace Hixon as the #3 wideout are Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan, and Louis Murphy.
Randle, the team’s second-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, is probably the favorite to win the job. Randle had only 19 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns his rookie season. His best games were against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5 (six catches for 82 yards) and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17 (four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns). But Randle, who just turned 22 in May, has an excellent combination of size, athletic ability, and hands. Randle is not a burner, but he is fluid and smooth with just enough speed to threaten a defense vertically down the field. In that regard, he’s similar to Nicks. Like most young players, Randle needs to continue to improve his route-running and realize that professional football is indeed a serious business that requires a heightened level of commitment.
With Nicks recovering from offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Randle has been getting work with the first team.