It was a tough start to Henry Ruggs‘ career but the young wide receiver is taking things in stride. The Las Vegas Raiders had high hopes for him heading into his rookie season but he mostly struggled to be productive. What was noticeable about Ruggs was just how small he was. He didn’t carry a lot of muscle during the season.
However, that’s changing. The wide receiver revealed that he added on 12 pounds of muscle during the offseason.
He was also recently seen running a 4.26 40-yard-dash in a race with fellow NFL wide receivers. That’s even faster than when he ran a 4.27 at last year’s combine. Clearly, Ruggs hasn’t lost any of his speed despite packing on some muscle. That has to be exciting for the Raiders as they still have high hopes for him. Also, his commitment to putting in extra work in the offseason is a promising sign.
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Raiders Pass on Julio Jones Trade
When it was revealed that Atlanta Falcons superstar wide receiver Julio Jones was on the trade market, the Raiders were a team commonly linked to him. However, Jones ended up getting traded to the Tennessee Titans for a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection. That is a price the Raiders certainly could’ve afforded and likely would’ve been more appealing to the Falcons considering the Titans have drafted at a lower slot than Las Vegas in each of the last three seasons.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Raiders may have never really had an interest in Jones.
“The Patriots never showed real interest to Atlanta in Jones, and the Raiders (perhaps for cash reasons) weren’t in it either,” Breer wrote Monday.
If the Raiders really wanted Jones, they could’ve found ways to make the money work. Their decision to not make a trade likely has to do with the confidence they’re feeling in their current group of young wide receivers. Though Ruggs was disappointing as a rookie, he could still develop into a star.
Ruggs Continuing to Develop
A big reason the Raiders selected Ruggs as the first wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft is the fact that he doesn’t have diva tendencies as many other players who play the position do. He’s made it clear that he doesn’t care about stats as long as he’s helping the team win. Based on how his rookie season went, it would’ve been easy for Ruggs to hang his head. Instead, he’s decided to take the opportunity to improve himself.
“I can always develop in all areas,” Ruggs said last week. “Adding strength, adding versatility, moving around, moving to different positions, running different routes, expanding my route tree and doing different things — finding different ways to help the team out. I’m open to all of it, and I’m excited to learn and do new things for the team.”
There’s no question that Ruggs has the talent to be an absolute stud. He just needs to continue to work and the number will come.