WR Rueben Randle showing Giants he's NFL-ready
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants boasted that Rueben Randle was NFL-ready after taking the LSU receiver in the second round of draft, and the kid didn't disappoint as the Super Bowl champions opened a rookie minicamp on Friday.
Randle went up high to catch a pass along the sideline and later burned third-round draft choice Jayron Hosley on a "go'' pattern in the morning session of Friday's camp.
Granted it's just a minicamp littered with free agents and players on tryouts, but Randle showed signs that he might be able to replace Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham, who left to sign with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent.
The goal now is for Randle to show he can do it with Eli Manning throwing the ball.
Former LSU and Giants many-time practice squad signalcaller Ryan Perrilloux has no doubt the two will work well together.
Perrilloux preceded Randle at LSU and this was his first chance to work with him on the field. He threw the bomb that Randle hauled in and was impressed with what he saw.
"He is huge - 6-foot-3, 210. A speedy guy, real good in and out of breaks,'' Perrilloux said. "Like I said, he the kind of guy a quarterback can rely on because he has all that athletic ability that you need. When you get in trouble, you never go wrong just throwing his way.''
Perrilloux was impressed with some of the little things Randle did. On his sideline pattern, he left roughly five yards between himself and the sideline to give the quarterback room for error with the toss. On the deep pattern, he saw the defensive back playing the outside and took the inside.
"Definitely polished, NFL ready,'' Perrilloux said, who plans to tell Manning that he will like throwing to Randle. "I really believe he is going to come in and get the job done.''
Randle, who caught 53 passes for 917 yards and eight touchdowns last season despite playing with average quarterbacks, is excited to have a chance to play with a two-time Super Bowl MVP.
"As a receiver you want someone who can get you the ball because you work so hard to get open,'' Randle said. "Coming in and playing with Eli, who is a great quarterback, that's very exciting.''
Randle still has a lot to learn and he probably will get the time to adjust playing behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Manningham was relegated to the third-receiver spot by the end of last season and Randle can fill that role, although the Giants have other options with Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden.
While he caught a couple of passes, the 21-year-old Randle also dropped a few.
"They are expecting big things from me and,'' he said. "I have to live up to it.''
Giants general manager Jerry Reese said after drafting Randle that he can't be judged with a stop watch. He is an athlete who just makes plays.
"I think I can get there,'' Randle said of being ready to contribute this season. "I am still young and learning on the fly. With the right time and the right opportunity, I can be there.''
For the next few months, Randle will have to learn the playbook and be ready to go when the team starts training camp in Albany in late July.
"Football is football,'' Randle said. "It's just learning the terminology and seeing how they use things and run things. The routes are many of the same we ran in college.''
But it's the NFL now.