The Las Vegas Raiders entered the 2020 offseason with a glaring need at wide receiver. They took care of it when they drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards in the 2020 NFL Draft. Although both players have plenty of talent, head coach Jon Gruden preaches caution when it comes to their transition to the NFL.
The Raiders rookie wide receivers come with mesmerizing skill sets
The Raiders had their fair share of choices at wide receiver this past draft. When it was their time to select a prospect, all eligible wide receivers were still on board. In the end, they went with Ruggs. Later in the third down, they doubled down at the position and added Edwards. Both wide receivers will round a group that includes a rising Hunter Renfrow and a healthy Tyrell Williams.
Quarterback Derek Carr has already endorsed Ruggs and praised Edwards. While it may not seem like much, it will be Carr that throws passes to the duo so it’s reassuring to know the signal-caller is happy with his new receivers.
More recently a video of Ruggs catching a ball made the rounds on Twitter:
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) August 7, 2020
Because two wide receivers are better than one, they also posted an Edwards one.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) August 9, 2020
The Raiders know this isn’t a fast process
The videos above show some of the traits that made the Raiders select Ruggs and Edwards. However, they aren’t going against a defender. They can come down with the ball in both instances in their sleep. It’s a whole different deal to do it when a cornerback is shadowing them. Also, neither is running with pads on. Together, shoulder pads and one helmet amount to 20 pounds. Without the extra weight, players are free to run, which is the case in the videos.
Gruden knows it’s too early to compare the duo to Cliff Branch or Tim Brown. Via The Athletic, the Raiders head coach said that it isn’t the same to run plays in practice than doing it against defenders and with pads on.
Until they see bump-and-run coverage and until they put pads on, and you catch a crossing route with guys breathing down your neck, it’s a tough evaluation. But, so far we like what we see, but that’s about it.
It’s encouraging to see Ruggs and Edwards bring energy to a team that was at times boring to watch last season. Nevertheless, it’s too soon to come up with any objective conclusions other than they both look good in Silver and Black.
Ruggs and Edwards will eventually have their chance to shine under the spotlight. In the meantime, Gruden is taking everything in stride.
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Top Photo: Alabama Athletics