All-22: The Eagles newest wide receiver

The Eagles bolstered their receiving corps yesterday by signing former New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle to a one-year deal that can be worth up to $3 million with incentives. The 24-year-old is coming off a season where he caught 57 passes for 797 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Randle has spent the last two years of his career working in a traditional west coast offense under Ben McAdoo and, despite his young age, is the most experienced wideout on the Eagles roster. It is rather surprising that no team was willing to sign a young starter who was a second-round pick just four years ago, but his decision to take a one-year deal with the Eagles could end up with him cashing in big this time next year.

Here is a look at what Randle can offer the Eagles in 2016.

Deep Threat

The signing of Givens last week seemed like the Eagles found the deep threat they were looking for, but Randle has the ability to stretch the field as well. Since he joined the NFL in 2012, Randle has 25 catches of 25 yards or more, four more than Givens.

Randle is not a burner, he ran the 40 in just 4.55 prior to being drafted, but he is very good at tracking the ball in the air, like on this play, taken from the Giants game against the Vikings from last year:

Randle vs MIN Deep Ball

Eli Manning takes a hit on the throw and Randle does a great job adjusting and moving back to the middle of the field to make the catch. After the embarrassingly bad tackle attempt by the safety, Randle is able to turn upfield and find the end zone.

Manning's throw could not have been more inaccurate, but Randle's adjustment and solid hands (more on them later) turn what should have been an easy interception into a 72-yard touchdown. Too often last year, the Eagles wide receivers found themselves losing the ball down the field. Hopefully, the acquisition of Randle will give Sam Bradford a reliable down-the-field target who can go and get the ball.

Sure-handed and Savvy

It's no secret the Eagles struggled with drops last year. The team recorded 37 of them, six more than any other team in the NFL. Riley Cooper and Miles Austin have already been shown the door, leaving a young, inexperienced group of receivers who were inconsistent at best in 2015.

Enter, Randle. He had just three drops with the Giants last season, a lower number than any of the Eagles receivers, despite having more targets and receptions than everyone except for Jordan Matthews. Randle may not have the upside of any of the Eagles young receivers, but his reliability will be his key to contributing.

Just look at this play from the Giants game against the Eagles in week 17 of last year:

Randle vs PHI Zone

Randle runs a simple crossing route against the Eagles zone coverage, but he is able to recognize the coverage at the top of his route and sits down between the linebackers, giving Manning an easy throwing lane and a simple 21-yard completion. Randle also does a great job of catching the ball with his hands before securing it to his body and bracing for a hit delivered by Malcolm Jenkins.

That is the work of an experienced NFL wide receiver. It's clear that Roseman and Doug Pederson want to help out Bradford as much as they can and having a smart guy like Randle lined up on the outside will open up the field a bit more for the quarterback.

Volume Receiver?

It is hard to call a guy who has had more than 70 receptions in a season just once a volume receiver, hence the question mark, but Randle is versatile enough to line up all over the formation. In addition to working on both sides of the field, he has worked in the slot, where he was rather effective at running short routes and picking up first downs.

One thing Randle is very good at is using his body to shield defenders on short comeback routes, a skill that is particularly important on intermediate downs. Here's a good example, taken from the Giants first meeting with the Eagles last season:

Randle vs PHI comeback

Nolan Carroll is setup in press coverage and Randle does a good job of selling him on the fly route, but he slams on the breaks and keeps his body between Carroll and the ball in order to make a seven-yard completion and set up a third and short. Once again, a simple, smart play made by a veteran wide receiver.

These kind of skills will make it easy for Bradford to feed him the ball on crucial downs, something that Randle will welcome. He made some headlines at the end of last year, complaining that he was not getting enough touches with the presence of Odell Beckham Jr.


By no means is Randle a gamebreaker or someone who can carry the offense for 16 games, but his presence clears up a vital question mark at the wide receiver position for the Eagles. He is a proven veteran with experience in an offense like the one Pederson will run and can be counted on to make the basic catches, something that could not be said about last year's group.

With just a one-year deal, don't expect Randle to be here past 2016. He was probably surprised at the lack of interest in his talents and decided to take a "prove-it deal" with the Eagles in order to cash in during next year's free agency. He's a guy who can take the pressure off the young guys until they're ready and set himself up for a nice pay day next year. Seems like a win for both the team and the player.

Tucker Bagley is a columnist for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @tbagley515.

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