One of the most exciting about the Las Vegas Raiders‘ decision to draft Henry Ruggs in the 2020 NFL Draft was his speed. The wide receiver ran a 4.27 40-yard dash prior to getting drafted and he may just be the fastest player currently in the NFL. There’s been a lot of interest surrounding the NFL’s fastest players lately and Ruggs thinks that he’s on top.
Another one of the league’s top speedsters resides in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ruggs claimed that Mecole Hardman believes he’s faster than him. The Raiders wide receiver decided to jab Hardman based on his 40 time.
Hardman responded to the shade and is ready to put his speed to the test.
Now that a Ruggs-Hardman race could be on the table, others are trying to get in on it. Fellow 2020 rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson made it clear that he’d also like to participate in a race.
Jefferson ran a 4.43 40-yard dash heading into the 2020 draft. That wouldn’t put him in the same ballpark as Ruggs and Hardman. Regardless, it would still be a ton of fun to see the three compete in a race.
UPDATE: Ruggs announced on Instagram that a race between Hardman, Jefferson, Devin White and him is officially happening.
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Tim Brown Wants to See Ruggs Use His Speed
Nobody would deny that Ruggs is one of the fastest players around. However, that’s on a track. The wide receiver did show spurts of speed during the season but his elite speed didn’t always translate to the football field. Raiders Hall of Famer Tim Brown is one of the NFL’s all-time great speed receivers and he wants to see Ruggs play faster.
“I think this year is gonna be different,” Brown told Heavy.com. “I think he’ll have a lot more time to study film from last year and is gonna have a good training camp … a real training camp, anyway. And now you can go play with a little bit more confidence. You can be the most talented player in the league, but if you don’t have confidence, it’s gonna show up. … I never saw that 4.27 [40-yard-dash] speed that [Ruggs] has. Maybe in the Jets game when he had the touchdown pass at the end of the game. I think we need to see more of that. I understood exactly where he was. I was surprised he was playing as much as he was, but he didn’t have a choice because of injuries and things like that.”
As Brown pointed out, Ruggs didn’t have much of an offseason to prepare for the rigors of the NFL. That’ll be different this season as he should now have a strong grasp of the offense.
Ruggs Needs to Improve Route Running
The history of the NFL draft is littered with fast players getting drafted high but not working out in the NFL. The Raiders are very familiar with that as they’ve drafted a number of speedsters that ended up being busts. The team really needs Ruggs to pan out as they passed on some really promising wide receivers to draft him.
Though he’s known for speed, he also has a great pair of hands. What he really needs to improve is his route running. If he can build upon his route tree, he’ll be really tough to guard. The expectation is that he will be the Raiders’ No. 1 wide receiver in 2021. He’s easily one of the most important offensive players for the team this upcoming season.