Las Vegas Raiders opt for speed and select wide receiver Henry Ruggs

Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have swung for the fences and drafted one of the most exciting players in the 2020 NFL Draft with Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs.

The Las Vegas Raiders have indeed drafted a wide receiver with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and they did so by selecting Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs at No. 12 overall.

In true Raiders fashion, Mike Mayock and company opted for the blazing fast Ruggs over other top wideouts in CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy. Obviously, this is a selection that will divide some, but there’s no doubt that Ruggs is an exciting addition.

The Alabama speedster ran a blazing 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine marking the fastest time recorded at the event. A four-sport athlete in college, Ruggs has the speed and athleticism to be a game-changing receiver in the NFL.

But make no mistake about it, he’s more than just a one-trick pony, unpolished prospect.

Ruggs is a pretty refined route-runner with soft hands that makes him an explosive downfield threat. When he gets going, there are few players in the NFL who could keep up with him.

Although he hauled in fewer than 100 grabs in his college career, Ruggs still finished his three years at Alabama with 24 touchdowns which ranked third in school history behind both Amari Cooper and Jeudy.

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Pairing Ruggs with Tyrell Williams gives the Raiders a pair of field-stretching wideouts on the outside. Throw in 2019 fifth-rounder Hunter Renfrow and you have an exciting trio of receivers for quarterback Derek Carr to work with.

Of course, some will have wanted either Lamb or Ruggs with this pick. And it’s hard to argue that either wouldn’t have been a safer pick.

But the Raiders are going for upside here and Ruggs gives them just that.

Lamb was the more physical receiver, Jeudy was more polished. Ruggs brings speed and flash which the Raiders have tended to opt for over the years.

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It won’t be everyone’s favorite pick, but look for Ruggs to have an immediate impact in year one and help the Raiders make a push for playoff contention in 2020.