EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Second-year wide receiver Rueben Randle thinks he can be a key contributor for the New York Giants this season.
Randle is probably the most improved player from his rookie season to his second year, and he attributed that improvement to a refined work ethic that included more film study to gain a better understanding of the game and his role within the offense.
"Being in the system the whole year, I understand what needs to be accomplished, so, that's a big part of that," Randle said.
With Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz ahead of him on the depth chart, Randle is firmly in the driver's seat for the third receiver spot. Should he officially win that job, he hopes to bring something to the table that wasn't always there last year.
"I just want to go out there and make more plays," he said. "I think we left a lot of them out there last season that could have at least gotten us into the playoffs and had a chance to go into the Super Bowl, so I feel like we could make up on that year and come out this season and make a lot of more plays."
As a rookie, Randle he caught 19 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns, an average of 15.7 yards per grab.
The Giants selected Randle in the second round of the 2012 draft after his intriguing career at LSU. Randle opted for the draft as an underclassmen partially because LSU had a less-than-stellar passing game.
The Giants had some inside information, however, in that former Giants special teams coach Thomas McGaughey gave his old NFL team a glowing recommendation.
"I think there have been a lot of personal calls made into that particular school, talking with coaches who have worked with Randle," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin soon after the team selected Randle in that 2012 draft. "Thomas McGaughey ... gave Randle a very strong recommendation and we have a lot of faith in Thomas' ability to judge."
And scouts needed help because Randle's career at LSU was an unusual one.
After catching only 44 passes in his first two college season, Randle grabbed national attention in 2011 with 53 catches for 917 yards and eight touchdowns. So when he announced he was declaring for the NFL draft, scouts knew they needed more input to get a grasp on his abilities.
And NFL teams warmed to him slowly as his announced 40-yard time of 4.55 seconds at the combine was marginally comfortable. But he clocked 4.42 seconds at his pro day workout just in case.
For those who checked his background, Randle's exceptional athletic ability was obvious since his high school days at Bastrop, La., where he played both quarterback and wide receiver as a senior .
He led Bastrop High to the state semifinals (11-2) in 2008, passing for 2,461 yards and 20 touchdowns, rushing for 683 yards and another dozen scores and catching a few passes, too. As a high school junior he played wide receiver and caught 55 passes for 1,058 yards and 11 TDs to help Bastrop win a second consecutive Class 4A state championship.
--Information from NFLDraftScout.com on CBS contributed material for this story.