Henry Ruggs III could break Amari Cooper’s Raiders rookie records
By Brad Weiss
Henry Ruggs III is a special talent, and on a loaded Las Vegas Raiders offense, he could have himself a record-setting rookie campaign.
During the 2015 NFL season, then-Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper had himself a breakout campaign. The rookie from Alabama hauled in 72 passes for 1,070 yards, setting the franchise’s rookie records in both categories.
From there, Cooper would go on to be named to back-to-back Pro Bowls, establishing himself as one of the better young wideouts in football. The arrival of Jon Gruden derailed Cooper’s time in Oakland, as potential contract demands coupled with his tendency to rack up drops spoiled the relationship between the two.
Entering the 2020 NFL season, the Raiders have another young, dynamic wide receiver from Alabama who they took in the first round joining the roster. Henry Ruggs III was the fastest wideout in the draft class, but his skill set goes way beyond just someone who can beat you in a foot race.
As the presumed No. 1 wideout in Gruden’s offense, Ruggs figures to have a dominant first season in the NFL. Las Vegas did a tremendous job at revamping the wide receiver room this offseason, and Ruggs is the crown jewel of the new crop of players.
Last season, tight end Darren Waller led the Raiders in receptions, as he caught 90 passes, which was good for seventh all-time in a single season in the history of the franchise. In Ruggs, the Raiders have a do-everything wideout that will be featured prominently in Gruden’s offense, and he has the skill set to do incredible things in Year 1.
If Ruggs can stay healthy, and Derek Carr returns to his form in 2016, where he was one of the more accurate downfield passers in football, he could certainly come close to breaking Cooper’s rookie records. The 72 receptions are very attainable for a top wideout in any offense, and going over 1,000 yards should be an easy get for him as well.
During that 2016 season, both Cooper and Michael Crabtree had more than 72 receptions, as Carr helped both wideout go over 1,000 yards. In 2020, the combination of Tyrell Williams and Ruggs will be Carr’s top options, and big seasons are expected from both of them.
Of course, Ruggs’ success is predicated on Carr and how much he is willing to force the ball downfield this season. Ruggs could end up being the best weapon Carr has ever had on the outside, and hopefully, he uses him to perfection this Fall.