Randle quickly ascended as a playmaker in 2010 leading the Tigers with a 16.5 yard per catch average. He enjoyed a bit of a breakout performance against Alabama catching three passes for 125 yards and a touchdown but due to LSU's focus on the running game his season totals (33 catches for 544 yards and three touchdowns) weren't eye-popping despite the fact that he was LSU's second-leading receiver.
With SEC defenses sucked in close to the line of scrimmage to defend an LSU rushing attack that averaged 202.5 yards a game on the ground, Randle took his game to another level in 2011. He earned All-SEC accolades in catching 50 passes for 908 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging a gaudy 18.1 yards per reception. He showed improved concentration as a route-runner and receiver and developed into a more reliable blocker, as well.
Considering that he stood out immediately in the SEC, improved each year while at LSU and enters the draft just three years removed from high school, there should be plenty of interest in Randle as early as the bottom half of the first round.
Release: Good strength to push the cornerback onto his heels in tight coverage and has the burst to step back, space and snatch the quick out. Smooth accelerator who can get behind the defense with good playing speed but needs to do a better job of using his hands to gain separation when pressed.
Hands: Strong hands. Can snatch the ball from the air but does allow passes into his chest. Good strength and effort facing physical coverage and has the long arms and big hands to win the contested ball. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder. Good body control to contort in space. Possesses very long arms and has good flexibility to extend and pluck outside of his frame.
Route Running: Possesses good athleticism for a receiver of his size and is able to get free of coverage due to his savviness as a route runner. Shows some feel for setting up the defender. Will use a shoulder fake to get the defender turning and accelerate smoothly on angle routes. Has the speed to beat defenders deep and is able to gain separation on short routes despite being a bit stiff in turning back to the ball. Alert receiver. Recognizes when his quarterback is in trouble and adjusts his route accordingly.
After the Catch: Possesses very good size and good strength to threaten as a big play target. Fights for additional yardage and can break tackles in doing so. Isn't elusive enough to juke defenders in tight quarters but has good vision and enough burst to take advantage after breaking a tackle. Coordinated athlete who glides for his size but may lack the top-end speed to run away from NFL cornerbacks.
Blocking: Takes pride in his role as a blocker, showing significant improvement in this area in 2011 from 2010. Possesses very good size as well as good strength and effort to contain his target. Looks to get involved downfield to spring one of his teammates.
Intangibles: Highly touted athlete who drew interest in the Major League Baseball draft and could have signed with virtually any college team in the country as a prep receiver. Has been characterized as a very hard worker who is willing to put in the time on and off the field to improve. On the "hands" team for LSU and caught the on-side kick attempt by Oregon to essentially end the game in the 2011 season opener."
Isn't a real sharp route runner in any area of the game and has a tendency to prematurely drift into the slant and doesn't do a great job selling his initial stem. Nevertheless, showcases the ability to be sudden out of his breaks, get his body between the corner and ball, and pluck the football.
Looks comfortable extending his arms and making plays off his frame. Showcases some savvy as a route runner down the field when working the deep out or comeback. Does a nice job getting the corner to open up their hips prematurely or look off his routes and set up an inward breaking route, before working the deep out.
Consistently can turn receivers around and there is a natural feel to his game. However, looks tighter when trying to get out of his breaks on sharper routes. Tends to gear down and will chop/short step when trying to change directions, often causing him to round off his routes and doesn't create much burst in the process.
Is developing his game vs. press coverage. Exhibits some savvy and uses his length well to keep himself somewhat clean when trying to release outside and get down the field. Does a nice job selling his route, slowing his feet and using his long stride to get down the field. However, isn't real sudden laterally and tends to get tied up off the line.
Doesn't consistently gain a step until he starts to unwind his longer legs and vertically get down the field. Looks like a mid-4.5 guy. On intermediate pass routes simply tries to overpower his corner off the line and doesn't do a great job being sudden or slippery in order to avoid the bump.
Often times runs into contact and tries to just simply overpower defenders, but in the process jams himself up too
Exhibits a good feel when trying to find soft spots in coverage. Reads zone well and despite getting caught drifting on his routes too often down the field, he typically will extend his arms and pluck off his frame. Tends to get a bit wide eyed at times when he feels defenders closing in on him and will take his eye off the football, preparing for the big hit.
Hands are good, not great, will put some throws on the ground as he gets a bit hard handed at times. Adjusts well to the football down the field. Can win in jump ball situations, but doesn't consistently maximize his length and will short arm some throws when asked to go up and pluck.
Possesses a little physicality and short area quickness initially after the catch to get a would-be tackler to slide off his frame. But isn't overly quick in the open field. Has the length and size to be an efficient blocker on the outside in the NFL and has experience blocking vs. physical corners.
Impression: Possesses that sneaky strider speed down the field and has some savvy to his game. However, lacks great burst out of his breaks and isn't going to be effective running sharply breaking routes. Looks like a potential NFL starter only."
Route Running: Randle’s route running sums him up as a wide receiver. It’s under development. He looked a lot better from 2010 to 2011 in this area which is a promising sign. Mostly was used in the vertical game but uses his head well to set up double moves and is becoming more savvy in this area. He has a solid understanding of defenses (probably from his days as a QB) and does a good job of finding holes in zone coverage.
After the Catch: Rueben Randle is another slow twitch athlete with a longer stride so he lacks the short area burst to be really great in this area. Of all the WR’s that I lumped into the slow twitch category, he’s the most effective at getting the ball up the field. He catches the ball and finds north pretty quickly given his frame. This is another area that we could see considerable growth in over the years.
Athleticism: Randle’s size is imposing. He doesn’t have great speed or the second gear to be a guy that can score with each touch but he’s deceptive. Watching him on tape he doesn’t look to be running real fast but guys aren’t catching him from behind. A long strider that will have to work on his short area quickness in the NFL.
Bottom Line: Rueben Randle is a work in progress. He’s still new to the WR position and has a lot of growing in many facets. His ceiling is very high and he could wind up being a very good receiver in the NFL if given the time and coaching. He probably needed another year of college football but he could go in the second round based on his shear talent.
Draft Projection: Randle is a late second round pick."
Has some wiggle to him in the open field, can make a man miss... Does a good job of catching the ball with his hands, rarely lets the ball get into his frame so he's a reliable target who doesn't drop many balls... Played against elite competition in the SEC, battled against some of the top cornerbacks in the country...
Solid run blocker who was asked to block a lot in LSU's run heavy offense... Great big play ability, had eight games with receptions of 30 yards or more... Overall production is misleading because LSU lacked consistent quarterback play and relied more on their running game, he's better than his stats would indicate... Has a high ceiling, his combination of size, speed, and hands are all things that should translate well and has real potential to be a number one target in the NFL.
Negatives -- Needs to refine some his route running, he's not bad, but he's mostly been utilized down the field and he could improve his underneath routes...
Long strider, can get behind the defense, but it takes him a bit to get up to full speed... The long strides also make him a step slow off the line of scrimmage and he may have some trouble with press coverage...
Can disappear in games, had five receptions for 31 yards in LSU's two games against Alabama combined and had seven games with three or less receptions as a junior... There were seven of his 39 games in his collegiate career where he failed to record a reception."