Has a very good combination of size and speed. Has the speed to get downfield and the size to make plays on the deep passes. Gets a nice release off the line and has good burst to separate from coverage. Will use his body to get position and adjust to the back-shoulder throw. Does a nice job catching the ball with his hands and will adjust to throws behind him. Does a nice job after the catch, able to use his burst to make the quick move and first defender miss. Has good strength as a runner.
Is a sloppy and unpolished route-runner, tending to round off his routes. Limits how much separation he can get from corners, particularly on the deeper routes. Will have lapses in concentration, not securing the ball before he tries to run with it. Doesn't always play with the best effort, especially when he has to sell out for a poorly thrown pass. Is an underwhelming run blocker for his size, unable to get position on the edge when working against the smaller corner.
Randle has the physical tools you want in a top wide receiver, but was inconsistent at LSU. He is a classic college player that wins with his tools rather than his skills, knowing that he has the size and/or speed to beat most collegiate corners. NFL corners won't be as easy prey. Randle was also hurt by the erratic play of his QBs this past year. When Jarrett Lee was the primary QB for the first 8 games of the season, Randle averaged about 4 catches, 80 yards, and 1 touchdown per game. After that with Jordan Jefferson taking over, he only averaged about 3 catches, 46 yards, and only had 1 touchdown pass in 6 games with Jefferson. And it seemed like in some of those games late in the year, his frustration over reduced reps was showing in his effort. His key value was taking the top off a defense with LSU's ground and pound offense, a role he performed ably for the most part as a junior.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Oregon: 2 targets, 1 rec., 10 yds, 0 YAC, 1 TDs, 0 drops
(9/15) at Mississippi St: 10 tgt., 6 rec., 98 yds (16.3 avg), 20 YAC (3.3 avg), 1 TDs, 1 drop
(11/5) at Alabama: 3 tgt., 1 rec., 13 yds, 8 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 drop
(12/3) vs. Georgia: 1 key block; 5 tgt., 2 rec., 15 yds (7.5 avg), 8 YAC (4.0 avg), 0 TDs, 0 drops
(1/9) vs. Alabama: 2 missed blocks; 3 tgt., 3 rec., 13 yds (4.3 avg), 14 YAC (4.7 avg), 0 TDS
2011: 14 GP/12 GS, 53 catches, 917 yds, 17.3 avg, 8 TDs
Randle has potential because of his physical tools, but he is not a good bet to be a guy that can come in right away and produce in the NFL. He seems to me that he's probably never going to be more than a role player at the next level. The player I would probably compare him to is Robert Meachem, a talented vertical threat with good size and speed, but doesn't really bring a lot to the table besides that. Like Meachem, he'll probably be a guy that won't break 50 or 60 catches in most years. But he can be a guy that can average 15-18 yards a catch because of how good he can be as a vertical threat. He's not a good route runner and it wouldn't surprise me if he never develops the ability to be a guy that can consistently separate on the short and intermediate routes. It's really not a lack of ability, just that given his lack of progress in college, it'll probably take a while to do so in the pros if ever. And thus, I doubt he becomes a No. 1 receiver. I think he can be a good No. 2 guy that in conjunction with a No. 1 that is able to work the underneath stuff, he can be a valuable complementary player. If a team wants him to come in and provide immediately value as a starter, I think they will be disappointed. It'll probably take him the better part of three years before he can be a trusted starter. And even then, he'll probably only be a role player. Everything about him smacks of a guy that isn't going to be a consistent producer at the next level. He'll work best on a team where he plays across a top-end No. 1 that can draw coverages away from him. Then he can help take the top off a defense. While he's not a true burner in the Mike Wallace sense, his combo of size and speed can allow him to be a very good depth threat like Meachem or Mario Manningham. The other role he can fit is like Manningham, where he's really the playing third fiddle to a solid but not great No. 1 like Nicks, and has a dynamic slot option in Cruz, which basically allows him to be the vertical field stretcher. But in either situation, he's not going to be relied upon to produce week in and week out. I do think there is some bust potential in the sense that he could be a Dwayne Jarrett-type that just doesn't put any effort into becoming a better player. But I doubt Randle is that bad because most of hte guys that really do bust out like that also tend to be guys that people question whether they can separate at all from NFL corners. I don't really question whether Randle can separate. He needs to improve his route-running so that he can do it better, but I don't think he's going to be out of the league four years from now. Randle is more likely to still be in the league, but probably playing for a different team than the one that drafted him because he didn't live up to the expectations of being more than a good No. 3.
Robert Meachem, Chargers.
Randle would give the Falcons are a good third option, and if he improves and develops a very dangerous one at that. He can play in the slot, but ideally he'll play on the outside and let Jones work the middle of the defense if/when the Falcons go to 3-wide sets. The issue for him is how quickly can he impact. And while he definitely has way more upside as a No. 3 guy than Harry Douglas does, it's not a guarantee that he would pass Douglas over the next four years on the depth chart. He would be in a good position to replace Roddy White as the other starter on the outside in 3 years, but he would probably be a far cry from Roddy's steady production. Instead, he would likely need the Falcons offense to morph much more in a vertical pass-first offense to provide quality value as a long-term starter in Atlanta. Otherwise, he would probably have a fairly short stint as a starter and by the time his rookie deal is up in four years, the Falcons would be looking in a new direction as the starter opposite Jones.
Randle's upside means that a team would be worthwhile looking at him in the second round. For a team that already is solid at the wide receiver spot and is looking for a complementary player that can stretch the defense, he might be worth a Top 50 pick. But otherwise, he should probably go in the latter half of the round because of the length of time it will take to develop him and the unlikelihood that he lives up to his potential as a reliable weapon.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
After Catch: 7.0
Body Control: 6.5
Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2012 Draft.
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