So far this season, Henry Ruggs is showing that he’s more than just a speed receiver. He’s made some impressive catches through four games and leads the Las Vegas Raiders with 297 receiving yards. However, his most impressive asset is still his speed.
That was on full display against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday. One of the biggest plays of the game was when Ruggs caught a 51-yard bomb from quarterback Derek Carr. Though the catch didn’t lead to a touchdown, it was further proof that Ruggs is becoming a much more dependable threat this season.
On the play, Ruggs recorded a speed of 21.78 MPH, which is the fastest a player has run this season, per Next Gen Stats. He also was responsible for the sixth-fastest time this season on his 61-yard touchdown catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2. The Raiders are clearly trying to take advantage of his speed more and it’s working out. There are few players in the NFL who can keep up with him. He’s on pace to have a bounceback year after a disappointing rookie season.
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Ruggs Proving He Was Worth the High Draft Pick
It was a bit of a surprise when the Raiders decided to select Ruggs as the first wide receiver taken in a loaded 2020 class. The decision looked really bad quickly as he had the second-fewest receiving yards (452) of the first-round wide receivers and the fewest receptions (26.)
It wasn’t a great start to his career as he had trouble getting open and making tough catches. This offseason, Ruggs put on 12 pounds of muscle and worked hard to build rapport with Carr. The results have been positive so far as he looks like a WR1. In fact, he’s even outperforming a lot of his second-yard counterparts. His 297 receiving yards this season is second among 2020 first-round picks, just behind Justin Jefferson’s 338 yards. It’s still early in the season but Ruggs is doing a lot to prove the naysayers wrong. Jon Gruden wanted his own version of Tyreek Hill and he may have actually found it in Ruggs.
Ruggs Wasn’t Only WR to Make Impressive Play
While Ruggs’ 51-yard catch was impressive, it wasn’t the only notable play a Raiders wide receiver made on Monday. In the first quarter, the defense forced a punt but on the play, they only had 10 players on the field. Chargers punter Ty Long tried to take advantage and convert the fourth down on a fake punt. The pass to Tevaughn Campbell was right in his hands but Hunter Renfrow sniffed out the play and laid out a big hit on him, forcing the incompletion.
Gruden was impressed with the play.
“One of the best plays I’ve ever seen,” Gruden said of the play. “Effort, instincts, understanding the game, and making the play. This guy is an amazing football player. I wish we had four of those guys. He’s something else.”
Renfrow is becoming one of the Raiders’ most dependable players all over the field.