Another NFC East offensive skill player is switching teams to a division rival, as former Giants receiver Rueben Randle inked a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Randle was a second-round pick out of LSU in 2012, and he is the second free agent receiver to sign with the Eagles in the past couple of weeks, joining Chris Givens. Randle is still just 24 years old yet brings a veteran presence to a young WR corps, and he has yet to miss a game in any of his first four pro seasons. Over the last two seasons in New York, he averaged a respectable 64-868-6 line.
Save for a career-high eight touchdowns in 2015, Randle had somewhat of a down year. His PFF grade in the passing game was the worst of his career, just one year after posting a career-best grade. His numbers (57 catches, 797 yards) don’t scream fantasy standout by any means, but a closer look at some of the metrics illustrates what he can bring to the Eagles offense.
For one, Randle did post a career-best 65.5 percent catch rate to go with his eight TDs in 2015. He also ranked sixth out of 62 receivers in catch rate on deep balls (20-plus yards), hauling in 8-of-9 “catchable” passes, with four touchdowns. Further, Randle had a 106.5 QB rating when targeted, which ranked 22nd out of 85 qualifiers. Playing second fiddle to Odell Beckham in the Giants’ passing game, Randle has seen 85 and 90 percent of the offensive snaps in the last two seasons, respectively, while averaging 6.5 targets per game.
At the end of the day, Randle has finished outside the top-25 fantasy receivers in each of the last two seasons despite the heavy snap shares.
Still, things are fluid right now on the offensive side of the ball in Philadelphia. Nelson Agholor, a first-round pick under former coach Chip Kelly in last year’s draft, will have to show he can pick up new coach Doug Pederson’s system after a disappointing rookie campaign. No. 1 wideout Jordan Matthews ran 93 percent of his routes out of the slot last year, although Pederson recently said that he views Matthews and Agholor as his top two outside receivers and will give Matthews a look on the outside this spring.
Perhaps Randle, a 16-game starter for the Giants in 2015, changes Pederson’s plans for Matthews, or at least provides a contingency plan.
BOTTOM LINE: The bet here is that Randle ends up grabbing one of the starting outside receiver spots; whether that’s opposite Agholor or Matthews remains to be seen. But in a West Coast offense where the ball will be spread around, Randle’s ceiling is as a WR3 until he proves otherwise. Still, he presents a value play in the late rounds of fantasy drafts, and he does present Sam Bradford with another option in the passing game.