The decision by the Las Vegas Raiders to draft wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in 2020 is already starting to pay off in a big way.
The 2020 NFL Draft had one of the most coveted wide receiver classes in recent history, it was important the Raiders walk away with at least one of the top prospects. In Ruggs, the Silver and Black were confident they picked up a player that would help revolutionize their offense. So far, that is exactly what Ruggs is doing.
Pro Football Focus has been tracking the entire first-round class of 2020, Ruggs included, and they too are impressed.
An overall PFF grade of 65.4 might seem low but you have to take into account the games he didn’t suit up for a couple of games this season. In spite of missing time, when Ruggs is playing as we saw versus the Kansas City Chiefs, the offense is different. No one, besides maybe head coach Jon Gruden, is benefiting more than quarterback Derek Carr.
Ruggs Elevates Both Derek Carr and The Raiders Offense
PFF’s Sam Monson pointed out that “Carr launched six deep shots and threw for 215 yards on those attempts.” Which was more than all of the previous games combined by Carr. To say Ruggs spreads this offense and helps open up the deep passing game is an understatement. Clearly, his speed has been as advertised and much more. He’s becoming the deep option the Raiders have been missing in Gruden’s second tenure. Against the Chiefs, Ruggs hauled in two passes for 118 yards, averaging 59 yards a catch. In fact, so far in 2020, Ruggs has 64 receiving yards after the catch.
What should excite Raider Nation is not only Ruggs’ individual prowess but the fact that he is making Carr a more aggressive passer. While Gruden will probably continue to rely on his power run offense led by Josh Jacobs, it will be the deep threat duo of Ruggs and Carr that will keep opposing defenses honest.
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*Top Photo: Associated Press/Jeff Roberson