While there wasn’t a great deal to get inspired about on Sunday, the play of recent second rounders Rueben Randle and Johnathan Hankins provided momentary glances into 2014 and beyond. The Giants nabbed Randle at #63 overall in 2012 and Hankins at #49 in this past April’s draft. Both represented apparent value at the time of their selection, and from here on out they will be valuable commodities as the Giants enter a new chapter: It is time for an infusion of youth.
From game to game, heck even from play to play, Rueben Randle is wildly unpredictable. Randle was targeted 17 times between weeks 2-4, catching six balls for 61 yards with six composite yards after catch. In week five versus Philadelphia alone, Randle was targeted 13 times, finishing with six receptions (two drops) for 96 yards, two touchdowns and 40 YAC yards. He absolutely torched cornerback Bradley Fletcher on slant routes the whole third quarter. Ironically, he saw his lowest percentage of snaps all season in week five. That’s Randle in a nutshell, as standard expectancy does not apply. The starter-caliber talent is clear for all to see; and when Hakeem Nicks exits for free agency in the off-season, that’s exactly what he’ll be.
On the defensive side of the rock, Johnathan Hankins was finally given an opportunity to shine after four inactive weeks. He did not disappoint his loyal believers. In fact, “Big Hank” was at his run stuffing finest. He played on 40% of defensive snaps, compiling five solo tackles, four stops (solo efforts resulting in a failed offensive play), one quarterback hurry and one QB hit. Hankins graded out as a 3.1 against the run and 3.7 overall according to Pro Football Focus. As a unit, the Giants defense held the dreaded McCoy/Brown duo to 25 carries for 57 yards, but failed to contain Vick’s scrambling ability in the first half.
Hankins displayed the brute power to force his way into the backfield, as well as the agility to elude a cut block and chase down plays moving side to side:
Standing (barely) at 0-5, the primary focus for the remainder of 2013 should be player development. I’m not hinting at a “tank season” by any stretch, but it’s critical to find out what level of young talent we’re working with going forward. This week it was the 2nd rounders showing out, maybe next week it will be the third rounders in defensive end Damontre Moore and corner Jayron Hosley, if healthy. Moore played only five snaps against Philly and failed to record a statistic. The coaching staff needs to get the talented pass rusher on the field. Allegiance to veterans is no longer a viable rationalization. Get him out there.