The hype train for Las Vegas Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The top wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft is already among the fastest players in the NFL but he’s so much more than just a speed guy. In fact, he had the lowest drop rate of any of the rookie wide receivers who were drafted, according to Pro Football Focus.
Training camp is just starting to heat up for the Raiders but it hasn’t taken Ruggs long to show off his impressive set of hands. At Friday’s practice, he made an acrobatic one-handed catch in the end zone on a throw from quarterback Derek Carr.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) August 7, 2020
Raiders wide receivers have been among the worst in the NFL at catching the ball over the last few years. A player like Ruggs should help fix that. A few acrobatic catches like the above one should be a welcome sight for Carr.
Raiders Coach Talks Ruggs’ Role on Offense
With the addition of Ruggs, the Raiders have a chance to be a lot more creative on offense. His speed and hands make him a difficult player to cover. Plus, he’s willing to do a lot more than just catch the ball. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson revealed the team’s plans for the rookie.
“We’ll start with Ruggs III in the slot and do some things with Ruggs III,” Olson said on Tuesday. “But those guys [Ruggs and Bryan Edwards] are very multiple in what they can do and that’s the goal is to be able to move all of them around to different spots; the one, two or three position at the wide receiver.”
NFL insider Adam Caplan, who has been really connected on all things wide receivers, clarified the Raiders’ plans for Ruggs.
On #Raiders Henry Ruggs: he's going to be their starting "Z" WR this season. They plan to cross train him inside during training camp. Ruggs, because he's a quick learner, will be moved around this season. #Eagles are doing the same with Jalen Reagor (X, Z) with versatility.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 6, 2020
The best receivers do a lot more than just lineup is one spot. The Raiders didn’t use a first-round pick on Ruggs just to have him run in a straight line and catch deep balls. While he will definitely be a deep threat, the team is going to try and utilize him in a lot more ways than one.
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What Does This Mean for Hunter Renfrow?
Now, it’s certainly interesting that the Raiders plan to put Ruggs in the slot. Hunter Renfrow showed a lot of potential in that spot last season. However, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Renfrow has proven to be effective in multiple ways. He’ll probably be the main slot receiver while Ruggs takes snaps there from time to time. It’s also likely the Raiders line up Renfrow up on the outside.
Make no bones about it, the team loves Renfrow and are going to give him a lot of looks. Ruggs is going to be the Z receiver and they typically line up all over the field. That doesn’t mean that Renfrow’s role will be diminished. Between Ruggs, Renfrow and Tyrell Willimas, the Raiders could have a really good receiving corps.