Rueben Randle will help the New York Giants defend their Super Bowl championship.
Former Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan announced Randle, the former Bastrop High Parade All-American and All-SEC LSU wide receiver, as the 63rd overall pick and final selection of the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday night at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
Randle, one of 26 college players invited to the draft, had to a wait a little longer than expected. He was projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick.
“It was a little nerve-racking,” Randle admitted of the wait, “but you have to stay calm. That's why you have your family here to talk to you and keep you relaxed until the opportunity comes.”
Although his wasn't called as soon as he may have liked, it all worked out in the end.
“I'm happy to be a part of the New York Giants, a winning program, the Super Bowl champs,” Randle said. “I'm happy with that.”
A 6-4, 210-pound wide receiver, Randle became the highest draftee in Bastrop High history, an honor previously held by defensive tackle Claude Wroten. The St. Louis Rams chose Wroten out of LSU with the fourth pick of the third round in the 2006 draft.
The Giants, who registered a 21-17 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in February, actually considered Randle with the final pick of the first round, before settling on Virginia Tech running back David Wilson.
“There were five guys in the (first round) discussion and (Randle) was one of the guys who we spoke about,” Giants' general manager Jerry Reese said during an interview with the team's web site, giants.com. “We were really surprised a little bit with him still being there because we though he would have gone early in the second (round). He was still there, and I think we're fortunate to get a guy of his caliber.”
Randle appears to be a good fit with his new team. He is projected as an outside receiver with the Giants, who lost wide receiver Mario Manningham to free agency.
“He's NFL-ready — he runs the entire route tree,” Reese said. “In this day and age in college football, it's all about the spread offense, and guys don't run the full route tree. This kids runs the full tree. He kind of looks like a big, pro wide receiver out there with how he runs routes. I think he's going to be a quick fit into the offense with how he plays.”
Randle's college production was hindered by LSU's erratic quarterback play. That shouldn't be a problem with two-time Super Bowl MVP and fellow Louisiana native Eli Manning throwing passes for the Giants.
Page 2 of 2 - “It's going to be great,” Randle said of the opportunity to play with Manning. “They weren't bad quarterbacks, but we struggled (at LSU). But Eli is an elite quarterback in the league and it's going to be great for me to come in and play with him.”
Randle was the third LSU player taken in the draft behind a pair of first-rounders. Cornerback Morris Claiborne was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys with the No. 6 pick, while defensive tackle Michael Brokers was selected by the St. Louis Rams at No. 14. Also, strong safety Brandon Taylor was taken in the third round as the No. 73 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers.
Ranked as the No. 2 player in the nation by rivals.com, Randle signed with LSU in 2009. Last season, he caught 53 passes for 917 yards, an average of 17.3 yards per catch, and eight touchdowns while helping the Tigers reach the BCS national championship game. Randle's 629 receiving yards in conference games was tops in the SEC. He was a first-team selection on the coaches All-SEC team.
Randle opted to declare for the draft after his junior season.
At Bastrop, Randle was part of three straight state championship teams (2005-07). Moving from wide receiver to quarterback for his senior season, Randle guided the Rams to a state semifinal appearance.