The Las Vegas Raiders selected Henry Ruggs III with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Even though he hasn’t played a snap, the Alabama product is already making noise.
The Raiders had their choice of receivers in the draft. Although they could’ve gone with Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb, they settled on Ruggs. One of the reasons why Ruggs was among the top three players at his position was his speed. In the NFL Scouting Combine, the wide receiver had a 4.27 40-yard dash, the fastest time at the event this year.
Henry Ruggs III officially ran a 4.27 40, tied with Marquise Goodwin in 2013 for the 4th fastest at the NFL Combine since 2006.
Ruggs III also had a 42-inch vertical jump. Since 2006, no player at the NFL Combine has produced both a sub-4.3 40 and a vertical jump of 40 inches. pic.twitter.com/5rVR8yoJs1
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 28, 2020
With such a blazing time, it wasn’t surprising to see Ruggs get a 98 Madden speed rating.
Whew ðŸ¥µhttps://t.co/U6jN0IKj3x pic.twitter.com/XwRsxgjHbz
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) July 10, 2020
Moreover, plenty of coaches and players have already endorsed Ruggs. Nick Saban and quarterback Derek Carr are some of the most meaningful personalities that approve of Rugg’s selection.
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Henry Ruggs III: Offensive Rookie of the Year? Why Not?
It’s not only Ruggs’ speed or his endorsements. There’s already talks about him getting Offensive Rookie of the Year accolades. At least, that’s what Lance Zierlein of NFL Media seems to think. The writer recently came up with a list of potential Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Ruggs comes in at nine, but it isn’t because of a lack of playmaking prowess. In fact, Zierlein cites Carr as the reason for not placing Ruggs higher.
The slotting of Ruggs at No. 9 on this list is certainly not indicative of what I think of his ability to be an impact talent in the league. He possesses instant, electric speed and can threaten defenses in a variety of ways. However, it’s hard for me to ignore the fact that Derek Carr has had tight ends as his leading receivers for three straight seasons (Darren Waller last year and Jared Cook in the two prior) and has consistently been in the bottom half of the quarterback rankings in yards per completion since entering the league in 2014.
In Carr’s defense, Waller was his best receiver last season with Tyrell Williams hurt much of the season. Moreover, Hunter Renfrow broke out until Week 16. Now that Ruggs is on the team and with a healthy Williams, Wallers might see his numbers decrease. As a matter of fact, Ruggs is the kind of receiver the Raiders need. Hence, why they drafted him so early. He has the tools to be the Raiders’ best receiver and even Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Related: Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow’s Production Continue to Impress
Top Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images