Eagles Sign Rueben Randle & A Look At The Wide Receiver Core
On March 23, the Philadelphia Eagles signed former-New York Giant wide receiver Rueben Randle to a 1-year, $1 million contract. This will make him the #4 or #5 wideout on the depth chart pending summer camp, possible injuries, and his upcoming competition with former-Baltimore Raven Chris Givens, another receiver who was also signed by Philly just a week earlier.
After the Eagles had released Miles Austin in the middle of last season and Riley Cooper in the now-current offseason, many wondered whether the franchise would sign a veteran wideout to assist the positional group, and they might have already done it by hiring receivers coach Greg Lewis.
Lewis just might be that link in getting last year’s Eagles and Givens to stop dropping easily catchable balls as well as ridding Randle of his supposed laziness factor.
"Catching the ball is big to me. I prided myself, when I played, when I coached, on guys catching the ball. I'd rather have a guy who can catch and runs a 4.9 than a guy that runs a 4.2 and can't catch…We drill that consistently, daily -- eyes, hands, fingers, focusing on the ball and making plays when given an opportunity,” Lewis said. "The drops ... it will be improved. Not 'can be.' It will be improved."
These are certainly some stern words coming from a man who will be making his transition from an offensive assistant with the Sean Peyton New Orleans Saints to first-time NFL-level positional coach with Philadelphia. The longtime Eagles receiver has also been adamant that the group of wideouts he has inherited possess great work ethic plus good talent, and it is only a matter of fine tuning in order to improve consistency as well as productivity.
At the time, Lewis was speaking in regards to Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, and Nelson Agholor who plan on building off of their 2015 campaigns. Many expect Matthews to evolve into WR1 and fill the void left by DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and optimism is high after the former-Vanderbilt product amassed 1,869 yards in two seasons playing almost primarily from the slot.
Both Huff and Agholor should also prosper from Doug Pederson’s West Coast-hybrid offense, which will allow the young receivers to get open in space and display their run-after-catch abilities, not to mention Huff’s physical toughness in gaining extra yardage.
Givens should give the Birds that over-the-top X-factor, and Randle will be given another opportunity to showcase his innate physical attributes. In all, this has been a terrific offseason for the Eagles as they continue to arm quarterback Sam Bradford with many quality skill-position players as well as quality coaches to teach those players.