Las Vegas Raiders quick reaction NFL Draft grade: Henry Ruggs III
Why the pick makes sense
The Raiders are desperate for an impact player at the wide receiver position after releasing Antonio Brown before week 1 of the 2019 season. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock shuffled the deck at the position, trading late-round picks for lower tier players like Zay Jones and Trevor Davis who showed flashes but were not able to make an impact consistently.
This meant that going in to the offseason they were almost guaranteed to spend an early pick on a WR that could make an impact consistently, especially with such a weak free agent class. Mock drafts have theorized that the Raiders would select Ruggs due to the Silver and Black’s legendary love affairs with speed demons and they were right.
How he helps the team
Henry Ruggs gives the Raiders a weapon that can stretch the field unlike any they have had since the heydays of the first Jon Gruden era. He will draw double teams as opposing defenses will need to shade a safety over the top to contain his speed. The Raiders have had to face Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill twice a year since 2016 and they now have a player that has been compared to the speedster.
Ruggs has none of the off the field concerns that Hill had coming in to the league and has been raved about for his competitiveness and dedication to the game. Similar to Hill, he can be dynamic on both offense and special teams and is someone that defenses have to account for on every single snap due to his gamebreaking speed. Ruggs showed that he was not only a deep threat, but a catch and run threat as he would routinely take screens or short passes and turn them in to huge gains.
Adding Ruggs to an offense that already has stars in Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller and young studs like Hunter Renfrow will give Derek Carr the opportunity to prove that he can play at an MVP-level once again.
The concern about Ruggs is his slight frame at 5’11” and 188lbs may make him susceptible to injury but this is a league that is all about speed and he brings that in bunches. Ruggs was not the safest pick by any means but he can be a tremendous offensive weapon for a coach that prides himself on innovation.