The New York Giants have been one of the steadiest NFL franchises over the past eight seasons. They have an overall record of 77-51 since 2005 and have a plus-357 point differential during that same period. They also picked up Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2011, if you're into that sort of thing.
The Giants have a couple of young players that showed some promise last season in wide receiver Rueben Randle and running back David Wilson. They were the first two picks for the Giants in the 2012 draft, at No. 32 overall in the first round for Wilson and No. 63 in the second round for Randle. Based on the flashes they showed last season, they look to be key contributors for the Giants moving forward.
Most of the offseason headlines for the New York Giants this year have centered around their most important offensive weapon, wide receiver Victor Cruz. He was set to become a free agent after the 2013 season, and at just 26 years old, Cruz has already solidified himself as one of the top receivers, of not just slot receivers but all receivers, in the entire NFL.
Cruz has caught 168 passes for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns in his two seasons out on the field for the Giants. That's probably a big reason why the Giants will reportedly have Cruz signed to a long-term agreement before training camp. Via Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com:
Parameters are in place, but remaining details, including contract language, need to be finalized. Sources say no obstacles are expected.
How could Cruz affect Randle's projection or role moving forward?
It's hard to say, because Cruz has already proved himself at the NFL level, and despite Randle showing flashes at times last year, he's still a second-year player with fewer than 300 yards receiving under his belt.
So if you're going to have to pick one of these two players (Wilson or Randle) as the future of the Giants offense, it'd have to be Wilson.
Most people watching the Giants last season saw Wilson struggle right off the bat. A first-round pick out of Virginia Tech, Wilson saw just six carries for eight yards in his first four NFL games. It wasn't the start he was looking for, but the last four games of his season went much better.
Wilson carried the ball 43 times for 247 yards (5.7 YPA) during his final four games of 2012, including three touchdowns (two against New Orleans).
It's not that Randle won't find himself contributing to the offense, but Wilson will join Andre Brown as the two-headed rushing attack next season for the Giants. Brown is also just signed through this season while Wilson is signed through 2015. Wilson is going to be a focal point of their offense moving forward.
Ahmad Bradshaw was the Giants' leading rusher last season, with 221 carries for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns. Those carries are now going to split between Wilson and Brown. Randle's future production could largely depend on what happens with Hakeen Nicks and his contract situation, as he's also slated to be a free agent after next season.
Both of these guys were in situations where the player(s) in front of them were largely affecting what kind of production you'd expect to see from them. Bradshaw was sitting in front of Wilson, and Randle still has Cruz and Nicks taking the majority of the targets from quarterback Eli Manning.
Sure, plenty of wide receivers can be out on the field at the same time, but my money would be on Wilson making a larger contribution to the offense than you'll see with Randle. He's already in a splitting-carries situation with just one other running back and doesn't have to compete with the likes of players like Cruz or Nicks to get some offensive attention.