Henry Ruggs III is one of the fastest men on the face of the earth. His 4.27 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine is visible evidence of just that. However, while Ruggs’ speed may be the first thing that catches observers’ eyes, he wants to make it clear that he’s not your typical one-trick pony.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Ruggs sat down with Tyler Dunne to explain why he shouldn’t be compared to the Dri Archers and Jacoby Fords of the world, but rather all-time greats at the wide receiver position and even top-level athletes out from other sports altogether.
While the combine may have proven to be the shining moment for numerous speedsters at the professional level, Ruggs believes that his combine performance was just a stepping stone for something much greater.
Ruggs Sees Hall of Fame Potential in His Future
Dri Archer, Jacoby Ford, J.J. Nelson and to a certain degree John Ross III, are all players who have run in the sub-4.3 range during their combine performances and all players who have endured differing levels of disappointing NFL stints.
Yet, Ruggs assures you, “His name will not be forgotten.”
In fact, according to Dunne, Ruggs sees his future success aligning with the likes of all-time greats and Hall of Fame talents such as Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens.
I can be one of the best, and that is the mindset I’m taking into it. My goal is to be one of the best of all time. I want to be one of the best and mentioned with everybody.
Game Speed is Different than Combine Speed
While so many of past combine stars whose entire game were predicated solely on speed have seen their pro careers quickly fade into irrelevancy, Ruggs believes his ability to manipulate defenses with his “superpower” and being able to control it is what will set him apart.
Game speed is definitely different than combine speed, and that’s one thing I pride myself on: trying to play at my full speed—my top speed—for the entire game. Other players who are this fast simply do not know how to use their speed, how to trust it. They slow down with every cut, every change of direction. They’re afraid if they don’t, they won’t be able to make their move. They don’t know how to harness this superpower.
Ruggs’ Explosion Reminiscent of Russell Westbrook
Before Ruggs was a surefire first-round NFL Draft prospect, his first love was on the hardwood. This was where he quickly demonstrated his explosive athleticism that has so many NFL scouts drooling at the idea of getting their hands on the former Alabama standout.
A quick glimpse at Ruggs’ high school basketball highlights and it’s no surprise that, per Dunne, Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook has played a big part in his career. He’s a player that Ruggs has looked up to since he was a kid. Westbrook’s unworldly explosion and ferocity was written all over Ruggs’ game on the basketball court and shows itself on the gridiron to this day.
Is Ruggs Working His Way into the Top-10?
Ruggs played second-fiddle to Jerry Jeudy most of his collegiate career. However, as we continue to inch closer to draft day, Jeudy has seemingly seen his star fall in recent weeks with some analysts not even ranking him within their top five prospects at the wideout position.
Ruggs, on the other hand, has steadily inched closer and closer to becoming the top wide receiver off the board later this month, something that seemed highly unlikely just a few months ago.
According to B/R draft expert Matt Miller, several teams have Ruggs ranked as the top receiver in the class, placing him ahead of the likes of Jeudy and former Oklahoma standout CeeDee Lamb. “You think about all the teams that have been burned by Tyreek Hill. And now there’s a version of him without off-field issues. That’s a top-10 pick,” one director of player personnel told Miller.