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What Elements Do David Wilson and Rueben Randle Bring to New York Giants Offense?

May 1st, 2012 at 4:43 PM
By Hazem Kiswani

The New York Giants added two new weapons to their offensive attack in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft in running back David Wilson of Virginia Tech and wide receiver Rueben Randle of LSU. The two will help offset the losses of Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs to free agency, but also represent a change in both the Giants passing offense and running game.

Today on Giants 101, we look at the elements Eli Manning's newest weapons bring to the Giants attack. 

WR Rueben Randle vs WR Mario Manningham

While Rueben Randle and Mario Manningham do share a common trait in their crafty route running, Randle is a very different receiver than Manningham and brings a different skill set to the table for the G-Men. Nicks and Cruz are the clear number one and number two receiving options for Manning and the New York passing game, but Randle is likely to step in and take over Manningham's role as the number three option on the outside (Cruz will likely remain in the slot on the majority of the snaps, where he is at his best). 

Manningham was a real vertical threat on the outside who was at his best working the sideline and taking advantage of one on one opportunities over the top. He's elusive and has very good stop and start moves in the open field to create extra yardage in space, but wasn't a guy who was going to run through tacklers or create much after initial contact. 

Rueben Randle is more in the mold of an Anquan Boldin or Hakeem Nicks (although Nicks is a more explosive athlete and puts more pressure on defenses vertically in addition to his physical play over the middle and underneath), and brings a bigger target to the table for Manning. He's a tall, long athlete who will be a big threat in the red zone with his size, body control, and ability to snatch the football out of the air. Whereas the majority of Manningham's touchdowns came on fade routes to the pylon or on 30 and 40 yard throws, Randle is a guy who can catch the ball in traffic, win a jump ball, or catch the ball at the six yard line and drag a defender into the end zone. 

RB David Wilson vs RB Brandon Jacobs 

Again, these are two players that are very different in the physical traits and skill set they bring to an offense. David Wilson is an electric runner, who is physical and powerful in his style, but is also very capable of breaking a 60 to 70 yard run anytime the football is in his hands. 

Brandon Jacobs was obviously known for his size and the intimidation factor he brought to the Giants backfield. He was difficult to bring down with a head of steam and it often took multiple tacklers to get Jacobs to the ground. 

Wilson is a smaller back but compares favorably to DeAngelo Williams and Tiki Barber. He's tough and competitive and looks to break out of tackles, but also has that rare acceleration to beat cornerbacks and safeties to the end zone once he gets to the outside. Wilson also brings a receiving threat out of the backfield with his soft hands and ability to make big plays in the screen game, something we didn't see nearly as much with Jacobs in his time as a Giant. 


In the end, the Giants kind of swapped speed and big play ability from the passing game to the running game. They have gotten substantially more explosive in their running back group, while adding more size and physicality to their receiving core. 

The receiving threat and big play ability on screens Wilson brings to the New York backfield should help New York negate some of the blitzes and heavy pass rush they will see with their reshuffled offensive line next season, as he is certainly capable of making defenses pay on the back end with open field space in front of him. 

In the passing game, the Giants have become a little more difficult to contend with inside of the twenty, as Randle is another big body that operates well in traffic and can win the football in tight spaces (not to mention their addition of Martellus Bennett earlier in the off-season at tight end).


Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Brandon Jacobs, David Wilson, Football, Mario Manningham, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rueben Randle

23 Responses to “What Elements Do David Wilson and Rueben Randle Bring to New York Giants Offense?”

  1.  purorock says:

    I compare this to giving grades to teams drafts… it’s useless until things actually happen. You can’t compare college players playing against college level talent to professional football players and project their production against the best of the best; in the same vein you can’t grade drafts based on what… no production on the NFL level.

    •  Hazem Kiswani says:

      This is nothing like grading teams drafts.

      This is strictly about the STYLE of play and skill set a prospect brings to the table. Manningham was a big play guy at the college level, who’s game was based on speed and quick breaks in and out of his cuts. He was the same TYPE of player at the NFL level.

      Rueben Randle isn’t going to come into the NFL and suddenly become the same type of player as Manningham.

      This was strictly to talk about the style of play that these prospects bring to the table. I’m not sure how that qualifies as “useless”.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    Nice piece. I think the key with Randle is how fast and quick Randle is on the the field and in pads. Many underestimated Nicks in this aspect and like the piece stats while he’s not Nicks he may be similar in this aspect. Even Manningham didn’t run the 40 times you would expect. Basically Randle sounds like and faster, quicker, more polished but shorter version of Barden. Given the LSU QB play I think it’s difficult to tell exactly what Randle can be playing with a QB the level of Eli.

    Wilson from draft night has reminded me of Tiki. From the speed, the toughness as a smaller back, the receiving skills and even the fumbling issues. Plus the assumption by many that’s both are just change of pace RBs. Also, didn’t Wilson break Tiki’s single season yards from scrimage mark too? If he can just be Tiki lite in 2012 that adds so much to our RB corps.

    •  Hazem Kiswani says:

      Agreed, Randle is certainly more game fast than his time speed would indicate. That said – I think Hakeem was always a more explosive prospect, and more of a big play threat over the top than Randle was.

      That’s not to say Randle “can’t” be an impact guy downfield, it’s just to say that his bread and butter will be as a possession guy, over the middle, and in the red zone as a big, physical target.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        That’s what I meant about Nicks. Actually, Blackmon reminds me of Nicks a lot because he’s explosive on the field though not a sub 4.4 guy.

        •  Levito says:

          Totally agree. Nicks wasn’t explosive with his 40-time either, and there were comments when he was drafted that he wouldn’t be able to break away once he got the ball. How wrong that turned out to be. The guy plays really fast and has had several long TDs in his career where he flat out burned defensive backs. Heck, he did it against ATL in the playoffs, and then the next week bounced off a few defenders and smoked the others enroute to a long TD.

  3.  Chad Eldred says:

    I’m kid of curious how Wilson is getting tagged as a receiving threat. I’m not saying that he cannot be and he is certainly dangerous in open space, but he wasn’t used all that much as a receiver out of the backfield. He was more of just an outlet option, not a guy that plays were designed for.

    •  Hazem Kiswani says:

      He wasn’t, but when you watch VT on tape you can judge his ability to catch the football and how comfortable he was as a receiver. He caught the ball very naturally on the swing, and the season prior to last he made some real big plays as a receiver for VT.

      •  Chad Eldred says:

        Yes, that’s a fair assessment.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        Plus Ware, Scott, Bradshaw, Brown? We don’t have any Marshall Faulk’s here so Wilson will be a RB receiving threat right away if even by default.

        •  Hazem Kiswani says:

          Let’s just put it this way – you will be a lot less nervous when Eli looks to check down to Wilson or flip him a screen than you were with Jacobs. He’s substantially more comfortable as a receiver and has more natural receiving skills.

  4.  GmenMania says:

    Another Nicks comparison for Randle:

    Giants GM Jerry Reese compares second-round pick Rueben Randle’s game to new teammate Hakeem Nicks’, and believes Randle can play “quickly.”

    “He’s got play speed like Nicks,” Reese said. “Nicks was a 4.5 guy just like this, like Rueben Randle. He’s big; he can post guys up. He was handicapped a little bit by the [LSU] quarterback situation. … This guy ran the entire route tree. We think he’s going to quickly come in and quickly have a chance to help us.” Randle’s competition will be Jerrel Jernigan, Ramses Barden, and Domenik Hixon behind starters Nicks and Victor Cruz.

  5.  GOAT56 says:

    Now that we have re-signed Tryon, Johnson (I don’t expect him to make the team), Witherspoon and drafted Hosley are we still planning to play TT in the slot. Witherspoon can play the outside too but these guys are slot CBs so if TT will be playing the slot why have so many slot CBs. Then does that mean there is competition between Prince and TT for the 2nd CB spot? Is the loser only in dime sets?

    •  Luv2Salsa says:

      Too many at this point is a good problem. It forces competition and provides some insurance against injury. You always want to play with your best players on the field. Once everybody is healthy and up to speed it will probably be Prince, KP, Rolle, and CWeb as the base. Add TT to that for nickel. Then add “Swag” Hosley for dime. Against good tight ends, you could see TT back in center field and KP up covering the under stuff. Against quick slot receivers, Hosley or Tryon might displace TT.

      Until we see what TT can do coming off his injury, it’s really hard to say, but this group opens up the possibility for a variety of personnel packages.

  6.  ERICHONIUS says:

    I believe that it IS possible to grade a draft prior to when “things actually happen”. It is about personnel evaluation, if this couldn’t be done then you would expect that draft outcomes would be random. But, instead, we see that some teams consistently do well, suggesting that predicting a player’s development is possible, just not for everyone. So if JR tells you, “The Rams had an A plus draft”, given his track record in drafts, you can be fairly sure the rams drafted well.

  7.  Krow says:

    The problem in grading drafts is two-fold …

    First off … it’s an inexact science, so predictions are difficult to begin with.

    But secondly … the media types doing the grading are basically responding to how well the picks line up with their understanding of the prospects. NFL teams spend millions evaluating prospects. Their knowledge is much deeper than the likes of Kiper or Mayock. So Reese drafts Robinson in the 4th … because scouts have made personal visits to see this guy play … and Kiper assigns him an F since he’s never heard of the kid. Draft grades are basically measures of conformity to the popular wisdom …

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    Texans release Jacoby Jones

    I think Jones is the type of player we should look into. With a combination of Wilson, Hosley, Jernigan and Scott looking like our main returners it would be nice to have an experienced vet returner just in case. Hixon would be perfect but his health is in question. Jones also has enough talent to help at WR should injuries arise. Basically, Jones and Hixon are similar players so by bringing in Jones we can ensure that type of vet player will be on our roster.

  9.  fanfor55years says:

    Good analysis Haz. I think one additional element that should be mentioned is that the combination of Randle and Wilson creates more opportunities in the shorter passing game than did the combination of Manningham and Jacobs. Randle can still clear out a side by going deep, but he is also a good prospect for the seam routes, far better than was Manningham. And when he goes deep there should be great opportunities for Wilson to do the kind of damage on swing routes that Jacobs could not consistently create because he just wasn’t good at catching balls in stride.

    That advantage could prove very valuable if we see a return to bad winters in the New York region and The Met becomes the cold, windy, place it was expected to be. In those conditions seam passes and little tosses to halfbacks that can be turned into good yardage, combined with home run ability on any given running play, are far-and-away the best offenses. The Giants now have what they didn’t before when only Nicks was a good target for the seam throws and no one in the backfield was a real big play threat.

  10.  Luv2Salsa says:

    Here is something else to think about. Barden may look better backing up Randle than he did backing up Manningham, since the flanker routes were tailored for Mario’s speed.

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