Getting a fresh start is just what wide receiver Rueben Randle needed this offseason. Out from underneath the shadows of Odell Beckham Jr. in New York, Randle enters the 2016 season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia lately has been a town where an elite talent at wide receiver like Beckham has not yet surfaced. Teammate Jordan Matthews is looking to take a major step ahead in his third season, and Nelson Agholor is attempting to stay healthy while contributing more to the offense in 2016 than he did in his rookie season. The rest of the wide receivers on the roster are fighting for meaningful snaps, including Chris Givens.
Thus far, Randle is doing everything right with the Eagles. That’s important for head coach Doug Pederson, the receiving corps in general, and for the quarterback, whomever it might be. Drops plagued the Eagles last season. Randle thus far has been sure-handed in the onset of training camp, building a rapport with Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz. Unfortunately, the rest of the receivers have continued their struggles catching the football.
More from Eagles News
- Eagles captains earn high praise on roster blending veteran leadership, youth
- How former Eagles star Cre’Von LeBlanc helped Renegades upstage Cowboys
- Eagles 2023 schedule: Every WR duo Darius Slay, James Bradberry will battle
- Imagining better names for Jason Kelce’s Good Guy Award
- Bold predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2023
In Saturday’s practice, Randle was involved in the offense in a new way. Randle received a screen pass from Bradford and then proceeded to throw a deep pass to Kenjon Barner. Randle was a quarterback in high school, so this is not unfamiliar territory. Being this involved early could bolster Randle’s confidence and lead to a breakout season. Randle’s ascension up the depth chart is needed if Pederson will use similar offensive sets as he did in Kansas City. The Chiefs under Pederson did not use three wide receiver sets often, particularly compared to the Eagles under Chip Kelly. If Randle wants to break out, he needs to be on the field. Earning the trust of the quarterbacks certainly will help.
Building a working relationship with Bradford and Wentz has been exactly what Randle has done thus far in camp.
The disappointing career of Randle has featured criticism abound. Opportunity has not been featured heavily in Randle’s career however. Only once in his career did he receive over 14% of the passing targets in the Giants’ offense. To put into context, over the last two seasons, Matthews had 17% and 21% of the receiving targets in the Eagles offense, respectively. Despite entering his fifth season in the NFL, Randle is less than a year older than Matthews. There’s still a chance he could put it together and produce as a top-tier option for his team.
Making assumptions off the first week of training camp can be a dangerous proposition. I’m not expecting Randle to suddenly become a dominant force in the NFL. I don’t necessarily think he’ll even emerge as the best receiver on the team. However, given the lack of production from the Eagles’ receiving corps last season, it’s imperative that Randle produce as he did during the 2014 season. Through the first week of training camp, he’s put his best foot forward. If he can do what the other receivers have not and put his best hands forward, he might very well emerge from out of the shadows, and into the spotlight in 2016.