2020 NFL Draft: Henry Ruggs’ arrival to Vegas means more in Fantasy to his teammates


Once upon a time, the Raiders spent an early first-round pick on Darrius Heyward-Bey, a receiver who had suspect skills except for one — his break-neck speed. 

In the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders took Alabama’s Henry Ruggs, another receiver with ludicrous speed, but he’s a more talented receiver who can make some significant contributions to Las Vegas right away. 

The number everyone knows is 4.27 — that was his time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. You can’t coach that and it’s a certainty that the Raiders wanted that element in their offense. 

But Ruggs also had a 72.7% catch rate last year at Alabama and did it by doing more than just catching a bunch of deep cannonballs from Tua Tagovailoa. His hands? Huge — over 10 inches wide, and he had only one drop last year. His route-running? Sharp, and it helped him speed past defenders when he made catches in the open field. That’s one area where the Raiders will absolutely rely on Ruggs. 

The other? Helping other guys get open. Look, defenses can no longer jam the line of scrimmage to contain Josh Jacobs or double-team Darren Waller. Everyone in the Raiders offense will be better off with Ruggs taking the top off the defense and forcing safeties to play 12-plus yards back. Fantasy managers should feel good about drafting Jacobs (Round 2), Waller (Round 5-7) and Renfrow (Round 9-plus in PPR). 

Ruggs isn’t a physical receiver — his blocking is not perfect and he rarely broke tackles at Alabama. And there’s absolutely something to be said about Ruggs’ limited playing time behind Jerry Jeudy and future Fantasy darling DeVonta Smith. But speed is speed, and anything Ruggs can do to take short darts from Derek Carr and move them downfield will help the Raiders and Fantasy managers. 

I’d consider Ruggs after 100th overall in seasonal Fantasy leagues and around 80th overall in dynasty/keeper startups. He’ll be a top-10 pick in rookie-only drafts. And I wouldn’t expect a lot of excitement for him on Draft Day — folks will settle for him when they’re looking for upside. Prepare for some crazy good games mixed in with some really bad ones from Ruggs in 2020. 





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