Two rookie wide receivers for the Las Vegas Raiders are playing impressive football through two weeks of the NFL regular season.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden knew they needed a lot of help at wide receiver. Ahead of the NFL draft, they signed veteran Nelson Agholor who has played well in the early going. However, the brilliant maneuver was drafting both Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards to help add both speed and physicality.
It’s still early in the season but the two youngsters are already playing at a high level. Their numbers might not be eye-popping but their impact goes beyond simple stats. Pro Football Focus recently ranked Ruggs at number five while Edwards was ninth out of ten rookie wide receivers.
Ruggs Shows Why Speed Kills in the NFL
When Ruggs was drafted out of Alabama, it was for one big reason and that was for his speed. It’s not to say the rookie is a one-trick pony but rather a credit to his difference-making impact. As Michael Renner of PFF points out, his deep targets are spreading defenses which in turn has created opportunities for others.
“Ruggs has been a great reminder that speed still plays in the NFL. Having a player with 4.2 speed and legit ball skills opens up a lot for your offense. His four deep targets are the most of any rookie receiver in the league, and even though he’s only hauled in one for 45 yards, he also forced a DPI call and landed just out of bounds on a couple of others.”
Ruggs will be out on Sunday with knee and hamstring injuries, but the offense was off to a great start thanks to the youngster.
Edwards Playing Like a Veteran for the Raiders
The flip side of this rookie coming would be Edwards, heralded as a steal on draft day for the Raiders. He could’ve been a first-round pick had it not been for injuries. It’s possible, depending on your point of view, that the Raiders might actually have two first-round wide receivers starting at the moment.
Unfortunately, his numbers don’t quite resemble much of an impact but it could only be a matter of time. As Renner pointed out, Edwards now has three receptions off of three targets totaling 51 yards.
Bryan Edwards is making NOISE🔊🔊
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 22, 2020
Several players on the Raiders are off to hot starts such as tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs. In fact, both of these players are seeing the benefits of having new threats at wide receiver. With more playing time and a developing chemistry, we’ll see quarterback Derek Carr go to these newcomers more often.
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*Top Photo: AP Photo/John Locher Pool