The Las Vegas Raiders fielded one of the NFL’s best offenses in 2020. Quarterback Derek Carr put up a solid year while running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller had Pro Bowl seasons. The team has talent littered all over the offensive roster but wide receiver is still the biggest question mark.
Last year, the Raiders invested a first-round pick in wide receiver Henry Ruggs. He had moments when he looked like a stud but mostly struggled to be consistent. Considering he was the first wide receiver drafted in a loaded class, the team needs him to improve. Fortunately, the reviews have been very good this offseason. Ruggs has packed on muscle and Carr believes that the wide receiver is already showing great improvement. In an interview with Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the quarterback had some exciting things to say about Ruggs:
Man, he’s been impressive. The way he’s running routes. He’s being violent in his cuts. I think something clicked in his head. Just like with everybody, you play a season in the NFL, you go back and watch the tape and you’re like “Wow, I know what it takes now.” And you either do it or you don’t. And he’s showing already that he said, ”Nah, I’m going to do it.” And it’s been so impressive.
Even what he did last year, with no OTAs, was impressive. Maybe he didn’t have a breakout season, a thousand-yard season or anything like that. But things he did for us in certain moments, it was impressive. So now he knows the offense, he knows the quarterback, he knows who’s around him, all those things. He’s working with me after practice. I’m very excited for Henry. Now he’s gotta go do it.
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Ruggs Has Been Putting in Work to Improve
There’s no doubt about the fact that Ruggs’ rookie season was disappointing. He’s admitted that himself. However, a bad season during a rookie year that saw the offseason reduced due to a pandemic doesn’t mean he’s a bust.
Part of the reason the Raiders drafted Ruggs so high was due to his competitive nature. He’s a worker and he’s not going to settle for the 26 passes he caught in 2020. He packed on 12 pounds of muscle this offseason, which should help him quite a bit. He looked small last season but that shouldn’t be the case going forward.
Ruggs Needs to Have a Statement Season
With recent chatter over Davante Adams possibly joining the Raiders if the Aaron Rodgers situation gets worse, Ruggs should be feeling the pressure to prove that he can be a No. 1 wide receiver. If he doesn’t show the Raiders a lot of improvement this season, they could start to look at other options.
Ruggs doesn’t need to be an All-Pro to prove his worth to the team this season. He just needs at least 50 catches for around 800 yards. That would be enough progress to prove to the Raiders that he can continue to get better.