The Las Vegas Raiders decided to pull off a big surprise just before the season when they decided to trade Lynn Bowden Jr. to the Miami Dolphins. The rookie third-round pick was supposed to be an offensive weapon for the team but apparently, they couldn’t figure out how to use him. The Raiders got a chance to see him play in person when they faced the Dolphins on Saturday. He didn’t have a big revenge game but his team did win.
Though they were only teammates for a brief time, Raiders first-round pick Henry Ruggs has formed a strong bond with Bowden. He recently sent a message to his former teammate.
— HJR III™💎 (@__RUGGS) December 29, 2020
Bowden sent a message back in return.
It’s unfortunate that the two men didn’t get to play together. With Bowden’s recent emergence as a solid receiver for Miami, it’s looking like the Raiders made a bad call.
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Jon Gruden Addresses Ruggs’ Lack of Production
It’s hard to look at Ruggs’ rookie season and not seeing it as a massive disappointment. He was the first wide receiver taken in a draft that was ripe with talent at the position. CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins and Chase Claypool have all been better this season. Head coach Jon Gruden recently offered his thoughts on Ruggs’ disappointing year.
“Well, Ruggs has been sick for 10 days; he just showed up Friday,” Gruden said Monday. “We didn’t know if he was going to play, so that had something to do with it. Right now, just so we’re all on the same page, we’re targeting [Darren] Waller and doing a pretty good job of that. We’re targeting Nelson Agholor because those are our top-two guys and we’re targeting Josh Jacobs. Ruggs has got to practice, stay with us longer and he’s got to do more with his targets and when he does he’ll see the ball more.”
There’s no doubt that Ruggs needs to be better but Gruden hasn’t figured out how to use him. It’s easy to send the fastest guy on the field on a go-route but the coach should’ve been dialing up way more plays for him.
Ruggs Can Still Be Great
One of the big reasons the Raiders drafted Ruggs is for his competitiveness. He’s a very hard worker and there’s no doubt he’s going to put in a lot of work with Derek Carr this offseason. The Raiders don’t need him to be Tyreek Hill but he needs to at least play at a level similar to Brandin Cooks.
Cooks didn’t have a spectacular rookie season but followed it up with four straight seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards. If Ruggs can do that, the Raiders won’t have any regrets about drafting him so high. His rookie year has been a dud but this season has also been very strange. Give Ruggs a full offseason to work with Carr and the coaches and he could be in for a really good season.