If Jon Gruden ‘Gets His Way,’ Raiders Will Draft Fastest WR: Report

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders HC Jon Gruden.

If Al Davis was still here, the player the Raiders would draft with their first pick would almost certainly be wide receiver Henry Ruggs out of Alabama. He has the kind of blazing speed the team has always coveted. Head coach Jon Gruden could take a page out of his old boss’s book and push for the Raiders to draft the speed demon.

According to Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network, Gruden is targeting Ruggs in the first round:

“Speaking of the Raiders, and harkening back to the days of Al Davis, a source well-connected to the organization told me yesterday, ‘If Gruden gets his way, the Raiders’ pick will be Henry Ruggs.’ The Raiders need pass catchers and historically love to come out of the first round with speed – and they like Ruggs’ upside.”

It would definitely be in character for the Raiders to take the fastest wide receiver on the board. Gruden has had to watch Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs torch his team for two seasons now and he probably wants a player who can do that to opposing defenses.

Ruggs Is More Than Just a Guy Who Can Run Fast

When talking about Henry Ruggs, the first thing usually mentioned is just how fast he is. At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.27 40-yard dash, which was the fastest of any player this year. That said, history is replete with fast wide receivers getting drafted too high and struggling in the NFL. It takes a lot more than speed to be a successful wide receiver.

Fortunately for Ruggs, he’s close to a total package. Not only will he be one of the fastest players in the NFL, he’s also a solid route runner and can catch as well as anyone. The thing that will get the Raiders the most excited about him is that he was reportedly the “most competitive” player at Alabama. While there may be safer options for Las Vegas to draft, it’s hard not to get excited about Ruggs’ potential.

Henry Ruggs isn't just fast, he's a complete receiver | SportsPulseSportsPulse: Alabama WR Henry Ruggs chats with Mackenzie Salmon ahead of the 2020 draft. He talks about how he's preparing for the virtual draft, and notes that he is a complete receiver. He says he has the speed and the skillset to join the ranks of the top WRs in the NFL. » Subscribe to…2020-04-22T17:00:12.000Z

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Do Raiders Prefer Ruggs to Jerry Jeudy?

There’s been a lot of momentum for Ruggs to the Raiders, but Maurice Moton at Bleacher Report believes that Jerry Jeudy isn’t out of the running yet if he’s still on the board when the team picks:

“Jeudy is a supremely talented route-runner and the 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner with 2,478 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons. It’s hard to believe Mayock and Gruden would leave him out of the discussion.”

Las Vegas has also been linked to Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. Jeudy is consider by many to be the best wide receiver in the draft, but there haven’t been a lot of rumors linking him to the Raiders. That doesn’t mean they’re not planning on targeting him, but it is interesting. While the chatter mostly surrounds Lamb or Ruggs, Moton won’t rule out Jeudy at 12:

“Even though indicative draft arrows point to Lamb or Ruggs, don’t dismiss Jeudy in the 12th spot.”

Which wide receiver the Raiders end up with will indicate what exactly they want from their WR1.

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