With the NFL season closing in, the Las Vegas Raiders are relying on youth at wide receiver this year. According to their depth chart, Henry Ruggs is going to be the team’s number one wideout. That doesn’t come as a surprise due to the fact he was selected early in the first round of the draft.
However, rookie wide receivers historically don’t put up big numbers in their first year. Regardless of that fact, Ruggs should have a productive year due to the lack of veteran weapons out wide for the Raiders. In their rookie wide receivers predictions, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler predicted Ruggs to lead all rookies in receptions:
The first receiver taken in the 2020 NFL draft will be a centerpiece in Las Vegas’ playbook, and Tyrell Williams’ move to injured reserve widens his workload. Ruggs has elite speed but showed in camp he can do much more as a route runner in the short and intermediate game. Watch for Van Jefferson to elevate the Rams’ offense, too.
There have been rumors that Ruggs is supposed to fill in the “Antonio Brown role” for the team. If that’s true, then he’s in for a lot of targets. Though he is known for his speed, the rookie also has great hands. With him being the Raiders’ number one wide receiver, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t lead the rookie in receptions this year.
Bryan Edwards Also Gets Love
Ruggs will get most of the hype out of the Raiders rookies but there are those who believe third-round pick Bryan Edwards could have an even better year. Dan Graziano of ESPN sees Edwards catching more passes than Ruggs in 2020:
Ruggs is the first-round pick, but Edwards has been the star of camp. Williams’ injury elevates Edwards to the starting “X” receiver role in Oakland, and the camp chatter is that Derek Carr already loves the guy and is very comfortable throwing to him.
Graziano also believes that Edwards will be the most productive wide receiver who wasn’t taken in the first round this year. While those are pretty lofty expectations, many are very high on the rookie. He’s a huge target and Derek Carr has had success with those types of wide receivers before. He’s also slated to be a starter on the offense based on the depth chart. The hype surrounding him is real, it’ll be up to him to prove that he’s worth the excitement.
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Raiders More Talented at WR Despite Youth
Many might see two rookie starters at wide receiver and be concerned but the Raiders should be better off this year. Tyrell Williams was injured for most of the year and they didn’t really have a good replacement for Antonio Brown. Ruggs and Edwards are healthy right now and have big play ability.
There should be growing pains along the way but both guys should help what’s expected to be one of the better offenses in the NFL. Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow may end up seeing more targets than either of them but Ruggs and Edwards are going to make an impact early.
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