The Las Vegas Raiders made HenryRuggs III their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he could have a dynamic impact as a rookie this Fall.
The last time the Las Vegas Raiders franchise selected a wide receiver in the first round it was back in 2015, when the team used the No. 4 overall selection on Alabama wideout Amari Cooper. It did not take Cooper long to become a focal point in the Raiders offense, as he set the Raiders rookie record with 1,070 receiving yards.
In 2020, the Raiders once again rolled the dice on an Alabama wideout in the first round, selecting Henry Ruggs III with the No. 12 overall pick. Ruggs, the speediest wide receiver available, filled a need atop the Raiders depth chart at the position group, and the expectation is he will have a very productive rookie season.
The last time quarterback Derek Carr had this type of talent atop the depth chart was back in 2016, when both Cooper and Michael Crabtree went over 1,000 yards a piece. Combining Ruggs with Tyrell Williams gives Carr two solid weapons on the outside, and the fact that tight end Darren Waller and slot wideout Hunter Renfrow can open up the middle, it should take pressure off of them.
Waller hauled in 90 receptions as the main target for Carr last season, as he really stepped up in what proved to be a breakout year. Renfrow finished the 2019 campaign with back-to-back 100-yard games, so he is obviously a threat that teams need to gameplan against.
Ruggs is entering a solid situation in Las Vegas, and if Carr can return to his 2016 form, taking more shots downfield, there should be plenty of opportunities for Ruggs to take a few to the house.
Outside of Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders have had good success taking wideouts in the first round, and Ruggs is so much more than just a speed guy, unlike DHB. He could follow in a list that includes Cooper, who went to multiple Pro Bowls, and Tim Brown, a Hall of Famer, as instant playmakers taken in the first round at wide receiver over the last 30-plus years.
Over/Under 1,000 yards: Over
Ruggs has the downfield ability to take the lid off a defense at any time, but he also has the overall skill set to go over the middle when needed. He is a key component of what should be a very prolific offense in 2020, as the Raiders have a star at running back, an elite tight end, and a well-built offensive line.
Cooper’s single-season rookie receiving yard record is in jeopardy with Ruggs coming in, and it just may be one former Alabama first round pick supplanting another Alabama first round pick when all is said and done.