April 19, 2014

SOTT Draft Profile: Rueben Randle

Randle

 

The next few weeks here on State of the Texans we will be doing some draft profiles of some particular players who could possibly fit into the Texans plans. We are not going to try to piece together scouting reports, but we enlist help of bloggers who actually cover the respective player and their school.

This draft profile we focus on LSU’s junior wide receiver Rueben Randle, and we enlist the help Stephen Baker from And the Valley Shook. (a LSU Blog at SB Nation) Randle in 2011 had 53 receptions for 917 yards and 8 touchdowns. Even with lackluster quarterback play, Randle put up some impressive numbers this past season. The All-SEC selection has the size for the next level, but questions are raised on him coming out his junior year.

 

Can you give us a little background on Randle?

Randle was one of the most highly sought after receiver recruits in the nation, and he forced his way into a playing role almost right away for LSU. Early in his career, he was primarily just a deep threat due to his skill at winning jump balls, but he quickly expanded his role as the team’s go to receiver. He’s been the team’sbest receiver for the past two years, and it hasn’t been all that close.

 

Is he making a mistake coming out early?

Almost certainly.Randle’s got 1st round talent, and he’ll be lucky to go in the 3rd round. Given the difference in those salaries, he’s making a million dollar mistake, perhaps more. Of course, it’s hard to blame him for being frustrated with the LSU passing offense. Three years of spotty QB play I’m sure has taken its toll on his psyche.

 

What are Randle’s strengths and weaknesses?

He’s got a big frame and he fights for balls. There are times you almost wonder why LSU doesn’t justthrow the fade route on every play. He can go get the ball, using his physicality. He also has decent speed, but that’s more due to his ability to get off the line.

On the down side, he lacks consistency. He disappeared in LSU’s biggest games (Georgia and both Bama games). Some of that is on the quarterbacks, but Randle does seem like the kind of guy to just tune out when the ball is going elsewhere. He can block, but he doesn’t always.

 

Was he lost in the shuffle because of the weak quarterback play?

Absolutely. But it’s not like he had terrible numbers. 53 catches for 917 yards and 8 TD’s is a pretty good year. Now, consider that LSU QB’s only threw 173 completions for 2135 yards and 21 TD, and those numbers look even better. The QB’s struggled, and Randle’s numbers suffered accordingly. But he’s not blameless. Randle didn’texactly step up and act like a security blanket for the QB. As the QB’s struggled, he got quieter. Meanwhile, Beckham stepped his game up and became the primary option late in the season.

 

How do compare him to past LSU wide receivers?

LSU had a nice run of big, physical receivers who took as much pride hitting as they did catching.Randle meets the first part but not the second. Given his issues with consistency, he reminds me a bit of Brandon LaFell, though I do believe Randle is a better, and more physical receiver. He just never took that next step to become one of the greats. I view Randle’s career at LSU as a bit of an incompleted work.

 

How do you see Randle projecting at the next level?

I think the key for Randle will be how he does right out of the blocks. If he gets drafted late 2nd or early 3rd by a team that seems to have real plans for him, he could be one of the real steals of the draft. Get involved in the offense early, and become an important cog in the offense. However, if he slides a bit and gets taken as a late round pick, coming to camp as a guy who has to prove he even deserves a roster spot… well, it could be a disaster. He has really failed to step up to adversity in the past, and I’m not sure he would react well to that scenario. I hope I’m wrong – he was an important part of our team and he made tons of big plays in his time at LSU. But I really think he could use another year to work on the mental aspects of his game.

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