The New York Giants took two skill position players at the top of the 2012 NFL draft that contributed promising, yet inconsistent performances throughout their inaugural seasons in Blue. David Wilson showed potential as a kick returner and a big play running back, while Rueben Randle torched Philadelphia Eagles' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for two touchdowns in the Giants demolition of their divisional rivals in Week 17. However, it would be inaccurate to characterize either player's impact as significant. That's a notion that must change in 2013 for the Giants to be successful.
With Wilson all but assured a major role in the Giants backfield next season, the pressure is on Randle to find a fit within Kevin Gilbride's system. In all likelihood, that is going to be as the No. 3 wide receiver in 2013 on the outside opposite Hakeem Nicks.
A year ago, Randle finished the season with 19 catches in 16 games. However, 10 of those catches came against Cleveland and Philadelphia. Not exactly stellar defenses, but he showed a propensity for being able to catch in traffic, a talent that the Giants have coveted over the past few seasons.
Although Domenik Hixon is an underrated player, the Giants have significant salary cap issues to solve this offseason. If Hixon is willing to return for the veteran minimum, then he makes sense to bring back. However, the Giants need to find a way to get Rueben Randle on the field next season. He's shown way too much athleticism and potential to sit on the bench any longer. If Hixon were to return, it would likely take away a roster spot from a young, developing receiver that can offer more value on special teams.
Randle is a natural fit on the outside opposite Hakeem Nicks. With two physical wideouts possessing down field capabilities and Victor Cruz in the slot, the Giants are going to be a nightmare to matchup with next season. Unless a team has two big, athletic corners on the outside, the Giants will be able to throw the football for big plays.
Randle's emergence will be key for Big Blue's return to offensive dominance next season. However, he needs an opportunity to get on the field in order to make the happen. Unfortunately, those snaps are going to come at the expense of Hixon, who is one of the most upstanding individuals in the NFL. It's a harsh reality, but one that must come to fruition for the Giants to avoid salary cap "jail in future seasons.
Also…2012 NFL Draft, David Wilson, Domenik Hixon, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Kevin Gilbride, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Eagles, Rueben Randle, Victor Cruz