Wilson, Randle could have big roles

June, 14, 2012
6/14/12
2:10
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants had the very last pick in the first and second round of April's NFL draft, but they are hoping for big contributions from the two players they selected.

Former Virginia Tech running back David Wilson and former LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle completed their first NFL minicamp on Thursday, and both said they gained a lot from the three days of work.

"I thought it was a good experience," said Randle. "Just go out there and try to make a few plays, catch Coach's eye and things like that, and just try to progress each and every day and get better."

"I feel like I’m about where I thought I’d be," said Wilson. "Just trying to get the whole thing down and have it like the back of my hand."

Both could see significant playing time in their rookie seasons. The Giants are looking for a second running back to complement Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield, after Brandon Jacobs signed as a free agent with the 49ers. And the third receiver job is also up for grabs, with Mario Manningham also moving on to San Francisco.

The coaching staff heaped plenty of praise on the two rookies this week.

"Randle's caught the ball well," said head coach Tom Coughlin on Wednesday. "Not always in the best body position, as you saw a couple times [Tuesday], but from a hand standpoint and adjusting to the ball, he’s done real well with that."

"Randle’s demonstrated not only does he have a pretty good understanding of what we’re trying to do," Coughlin added, "but he’s put himself in position where’s he made plays."

As for Wilson? "I don’t know if we’ve had a guy as explosive, regardless of position, here," said offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. "That’s kind of exciting to see."

Gilbride did throw up a caution flag, however, when it comes to both guys.

"It’s hard to make a real accurate assessment because there’s so much thinking going on," Gilbride said of Randle. "There’s a lot of polish that needs to take place, in terms of sharpness. ... But I think you see enough to be encouraged."

"There’s a lot of learning going on," he said of Wilson. "You can see the smoke coming out of his ears, and the eyes goin' around in different directions. ... There’s a long way to go before you can tap into it."

Both are planning to push their way onto the field.

"My whole goal right now is to learn all the wide receiver positions, because it’s a game of injuries," said Randle. "When Hakeem [Nicks] went down, it opened up another spot for someone else to go in. So I’m trying to learn all the spots, so when the season comes, they’ll be able to throw me in at the X or the Z or whatever position it may be, [and] I’ll be able to step in."

"In high school I wasn’t the starter until my junior and senior year. At [Virginia] Tech I wasn’t the starter until my junior year," said Wilson. "But I always had that mindset of coming in and working hard and wanting to be the starter.

"Every running back and everybody that plays every position has that drive to eventually be the starter, and I wanna come in and make an immediate impact, regardless of whether I’m a starter or not."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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