Commentary

Randle adds more firepower to Giants

A day after boosting their backfield, Big Blue saw the LSU WR fall into their laps

Updated: April 28, 2012, 11:36 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the New York Giants were busy discussing who to draft with their first-round pick in their war room on Thursday night, two of the five names they debated over for several minutes were David Wilson and Rueben Randle.

Little did they know they would get both offensive prospects by the end of the second round. After taking Virginia Tech's Wilson at 32, the Giants giddily watched Randle, an LSU receiver considered to be talented enough for the NFL to invite him to sit in the green room at Radio City Music Hall, drop into their laps 31 picks later at the end of the second round.

After going with defense with their first two draft picks in each of the previous two drafts, the defending Super Bowl champions loaded up on offense in 2012. Jerry Reese handed Eli Manning a new running back with big-play potential and a wide receiver who some in the organization are likening to Hakeem Nicks.

"We got some more firepower," coach Tom Coughlin said of his new offensive toys. "And that is what we are trying to do -- create more opportunities for ourselves to have playmakers everywhere at every spot, highly athletic, people who are skilled and can run. Whoever goes on the field gives us a chance to score and make a big play."

In the third round, the Giants selected Wilson's college teammate, Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley. Hosley led the nation in interceptions with nine in 2010 but saw his production drop last season while battling injuries. Hosley also failed a drug test at the scouting combine in February, but the team clearly felt he was worth the risk and passed on potentially taking an offensive lineman or addressing another area there.

After the first two days of the draft, the Giants feel they added speed, athleticism and playmakers as they prepare to defend their title.

After losing running back Brandon Jacobs and wide receiver Mario Manningham this offseason, the Giants may have found their replacements in Wilson and Randle.

In Wilson, the team feels they landed a running back who can come in and compete to become Ahmad Bradshaw's backup. The Giants love his big-play ability, as Wilson had season-long runs of 51, 68 and 57 in the past three seasons and can return kickoffs as well.

Before the Giants decided to take Wilson, though, they gave serious consideration to Randle at 32. Unlike Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill, Randle isn't a scouting combine specimen who wows scouts with incredible physical numbers.

[+] EnlargeRueben Randle
Rob Foldy/Icon SMIRueben Randle is expected to come in and compete for the No. 3 WR position for the Giants.

"Our guys that we have now, Hakeem and Victor [Cruz], you put them on at the combine, you won't notice them," said Marc Ross, director of college scouting. "But if you put them on the football field, they just take their game to another level. And this is how Rueben is in our eyes."

The Giants love what they see on film and believe they landed an "NFL-ready" wide receiver.

"He kind of looks like a big, pro wide receiver out there with how he runs routes," Reese said. "I think he's going to be a quick fit into the offense with how he plays; he's big, he can post guys up. People mentioned Hakeem Nicks when we talked about him in our room. He's not blazing fast. I don't think Hakeem is blazing fast either. He's game fast and he's bigger than Hakeem -- very good hands, ball skills."

The Giants may have also landed a very motivated wide receiver. Randle was the last prospect sitting in the green room on Friday at Radio City. He was invited with several draft prospects with the expectation that he could potentially go in the first round.

"I think it adds a little chip to the shoulder," said Randle, who played quarterback in high school at Louisiana's Bastrop High School. "I was going to come in and work no matter what the situation was. But I think I have a lot to prove now since I did drop so far, and that is what I am hoping to do."

The 6-foot-2 Randle had 53 catches for 917 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but the Giants believe he was held back a bit due to LSU's run-oriented offense and the Tigers' quarterbacks.

He won't have to worry about who is throwing him the football now.

"It is going to be great," Randle said of playing with Manning. "We struggled [passing] at LSU. They weren't bad quarterbacks. We struggled there."

Randle figures to come in and compete for the third wide receiver spot with Ramses Barden, Jerrel Jernigan and Domenik Hixon.

And with their third-round pick, the Giants passed on perhaps taking an offensive tackle for a cornerback who they believe would be considered a potential first-round corner if he were a few inches taller.

But Hosley plays a lot bigger than his 5-10, 178-pound frame, according to the Giants. And the Giants felt he was worth the risk despite the red flag of a failed test.

"He knows that's a bad decision that he made and we expect better from him," Reese said. "He's not a big man, but this guy has athletic arrogance. He plays like a big guy. His skill set kind of reminds me of Adam 'Pacman' Jones. He plays kind of like that. He runs in there kind of like a little linebacker. He has outstanding cover skills. So we expect him to be in our nickel packages. And a bonus is that he's a punt returner."

The defending champs are pretty happy with their first three picks. They still have some areas they can address, such as offensive line and perhaps taking another defensive end for depth. But they've addressed running back, wide receiver and kickoff and punt returner so far. And there's still one more day and four more picks to add more for the Giants.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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