With the Las Vegas Raiders‘ decision to draft Henry Ruggs with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the team possibly found one of the most exciting playmakers in the NFL. The Raiders finally got their speed back and Ruggs should quickly become a major focal point for the offense. After donning number 11 on his jersey during his time at Alabama, the speedy wide receiver revealed that he’s sticking with the tried and true.
A lot of wide receivers wear numbers in college that they can’t in the NFL. Fortunately for Ruggs, he doesn’t have to make that change. If you’re itching to get yourself a Ruggs jersey, it looks like he’s set to wear number 11. No other player on the Raiders roster currently has that number, so he won’t have to do any bartering to get it.
Ruggs Is Ready to Go
When talking Ruggs, speed is almost always the first thing mentioned. However, he’s also highly competitive and has strong character. He believes he’ll be ready to make a difference on offense from day one.
“Coach Gruden asked me if I was ready,” Ruggs said after getting drafted. “That’s the first thing he asked me, bro. He wanted to know if I was ready to make an impact. If I was ready to be a guy who can come in and just go. Of course, if y’all follow me, you know I’m always ready to go.”
Rookie wide receivers don’t typically come in and put up huge numbers from the start, but Alabama wide receivers have a very good track record in the NFL. Due to the lack of talent the Raiders had at the position last season, Ruggs could be seeing the ball a lot early.
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Mike Mayock Explains Decision to Draft Ruggs
When the Raiders selected Ruggs, they had their choice of all the best wide receivers in the draft. Ruggs was generally considered the third-best in the class, but Las Vegas valued him as the best.
“All three wide receivers we felt were diverse and would bring different things to the Raiders and I feel like Coach [Jon] Gruden and that offensive staff is so good they could have gotten the most out of all three of them,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said on Thursday. “However, the distinguishing factor really was his speed, his explosion and his work ethic.”
The team lacked speed in 2019 and it hurt the offense. Now that they have Ruggs, Gruden can get a lot more creative on offense.
“He can run the deep routes. He also gets the manufactured touches, the bubble screens, the jet sweeps,” Mayock said. “I think if you force defenses to roll coverage, it opens up our run game. You respect our deep routes, it opens up Darren Waller. I just think it does an awful lot of things for us offensively and I think the most important thing is I think Coach Gruden and the staff will get everything out of him.”
Having a threat like Ruggs on offense could help make a lot of players better. Teams won’t be able to stack the box to slow down Josh Jacobs as much. They also won’t be able to double or triple to Waller. While it could be argued CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy would’ve been the better picks at 12, the Raiders believe they got the best fit for their offense.