Heading into the last season, J.J. Nelson looked like he was going to be a good fit for the Raiders. He was going to bring a speed element behind Tyrell Williams and Antonio Brown. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay healthy and the team let him go. He did have a chance to start one game but wasn’t able to make much of an impact.
He couldn’t find any takers to sign him last season after he was cut but now he’s found a home with one of the Raiders’ California rivals. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Nelson is signing with the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are clearly looking for speed as Nelson runs a 4.28 40-yard dash. He had a couple of solid years with the Arizona Cardinals but hasn’t been able to be consistent. If he can stay healthy, he could have a shot to make the team.
Henry Ruggs Proving to Be More Than a Speed Guy
Once Nelson was let go, the Raiders had a serious lack of speed on the outside. They rectified this issue by drafting Henry Ruggs in the first round. When talking about the former Alabama wide receiver, the first thing that is always mentioned is his speed. However, he’s a lot more versatile than just a guy who runs fast.
Nelson is actually an interesting guy to compare Ruggs to. They are both really fast and are similar in size. The problem with Nelson is that he could never fully develop into more than just a speed guy. The Raiders are hoping that Ruggs will prove to be a lot more than that.
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New Teammate Has Advice for Ruggs
The Raiders appear to be ready to rely on their young receivers like Ruggs this season. Luckily, they have some veterans who are willing to offer strong advice. Las Vegas signed Nelson Agholor this offseason and revealed how he’s been a mentor to Ruggs.
“One thing about Henry is it’s in his DNA to want to be great. That’s the first thing,” Agholor said Wednesday. “For me, I try to tell him not to focus on putting pressure on himself, because he does have talent around him. If anything play fast and play with no hesitation because you got guys that got your back. You got a coaching staff that really has your back, they’re going to put you in the position to be successful. Study hard, work hard, but have fun when you’re out there. That’s what I’m always going to remind him, because he is super talented, he’s a winner, but most importantly early on is to not be too obsessive with mistakes. You want to be a guy who has a next play mentality and is embracing having fun with the game.”
Agholor knows what it’s like to be a first-round pick at wide receiver and having those kinds of pressure put on him. His insight should be valuable for a player like Ruggs.