After months of speculation, the Las Vegas Raiders have finally made their first first-round pick. With the 12th pick in the NFL Draft the team selected former Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs. The team had their choice of all the top wide receivers in the draft and they valued Ruggs over everybody else.
Jon Gruden now has his own version of Tyreek Hill and Derek Carr has a true number one wide receiver to throw to. His 4.27 40-yard dash speed will allow the Raiders to stretch the field, which they struggled to do last season. The team was linked to former Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb prior to the draft, but his lack of speed was a concern. It appears Las Vegas valued speed over anything else.
While speed is typically mentioned when talking about Ruggs, he can do a lot more than run fast. He’s got good hands and is a solid route runner. He’s actually more polished than Tyreek Hill was coming into the NFL.
It’s a bit of a surprise that Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken, but teams love speed. He’ll give the Raiders the type of weapon they’ve been desperate to find for years. Having a player like Ruggs give the team’s offense a new dynamic that opposing defense will have to plan around.
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Highlights of Raiders’ Explosive New WR Drafted at No. 12 [WATCH]
The Raiders selecting the fastest wide receiver in the draft shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. It’s far from the first time they’ve made a move like that. Fortunately, Ruggs can do a lot of things at a high level.
If anybody fears that Ruggs will be the next Darrius Heyward-Bey, they shouldn’t be. He’s a dynamic talent could help the Raiders in more ways than just catching passes.
Ruggs Plays Really Hard
The thing that probably got Jon Gruden really excited about drafting Ruggs was what he’s able to do when he doesn’t have the ball. He plays hard as a block and a special teams player. He was also apparently the most competitive player at Alabama.
Here’s what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlan had to say in his analysis of Ruggs:
“Ruggs’ speed alone helps both the running and passing games because it forces safeties into more passive positioning. He can work all three levels and his ability to turn slants and crossing routes into big gainers could make him the favorite gift under the tree for a quarterback and offense in need of an explosive weapon. He has quick, sure hands to handle off-target throws, but learning to release, separate and catch against physical NFL cornerbacks could require an adjustment period. He won’t rack up the targets, but has explosive speed and talent to imprint on games with regularity.”
It’s easy to see why the Raiders valued him over the other wide receivers in the draft. He’s perhaps riskier than some of the other prospects, but he could end up being the best of the bunch.