Rueben Randle, a wide receiver out of LSU, during the...

Rueben Randle, a wide receiver out of LSU, during the first day of Giants rookie camp. (May 11, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Rueben Randle didn’t have much experience returning punts in college. He was the backup in that job at LSU, playing behind Patrick Peterson one year and Tyrann Mathieu the next. Those are two of the premier returners in the college game in recent seasons. But with the Giants, it sounds as if he could get a shot.

“He’s a natural catching it,” special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. “I think he’s got good run skills too. It’ll be interesting to see in the preseason.”

Randle isn’t the only rookie who will be expected to make an impact on special teams. Jayron Hosley is also a strong punt returner who has looked confident in the offseason workouts. And first-round pick David Wilson has the pure speed and elusiveness to be a good kickoff returner.

Both of those guys did those jobs in college at Virginia Tech, though, and are built more like prototypical players for those tasks. Randle, at 6-2 and 208 pounds, is a little bigger than most punt returners. But Quinn said he could be in the mold of Domenik Hixon (6-2, 197) who was probably the last guy the Giants had as a punt returner who was any kind of threat.

Quinn may be high on Randle, but offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was much more tempered about Randle's offensive prospects. HE bristled at the idea that the second-round pick is "NFL-ready" as many around the organization have proudly (or is it hopefully?) proclaimed.

"I've never bought into that description," Gilbride said. "He's got a ways to go. He's got a ways to go. In fairness it’s impossible to really assess accurately how far away anybody is because they’re thinking so much and whatever speed they have they’re not showing it to you. But he’s a big kid. On film you saw a guy who ran by some people … Hopefully he’ll give us that."
 

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