Las Vegas Raiders: Grade and analysis of the Henry Ruggs pick

Las Vegas Raiders, Henry Ruggs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders, Henry Ruggs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders selected Henry Ruggs with the 12th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. We grade and analyze the team’s explosive first-round selection.

The Las Vegas Raiders officially have some legitimate firepower! The franchise entered the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft with a desperate need for an offensive playmaker.

Many members of Raider Nation hoped the team would invest the 12th overall pick on one of the many elite wide receiver prospects in this class to jump-start a pedestrian passing game.

And that they did.

Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock agreed with this assessment and drafted the receiver they thought was the best fit with their roster.

To the surprise of some, the team elected to forgo the opportunity to add popular options CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy, in favor of former Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs.

Here’s how the selection grades out.

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The Need: A

Regardless of your opinions on Ruggs, he is a top player at the team’s biggest position of need. While the team has some interesting options at receiver in players like Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor, and Hunter Renfrow, it was clear that they lacked a true No. 1 option.

Adding Ruggs will allow each of these players to assume the supplementary roles that they are well suited to excel in.

The team attempted to address this issue with they traded for former star Antonio Brown. That experiment ended in public failure. However, the team finally seems to have added the sustainable receiving talent they have been seeking.

The Talent: A

What Ruggs lacks in possession receiver skills he more than makes up for in speed and playmaking ability.

His game-breaking ability has drawn comparisons to stars like Tyreek Hill and DeSean Jackson. He has the speed and agility to outrun players in the secondary and create big plays consistently.

Ruggs recorded a blistering 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. But don’t be fooled by the overemphasis on his speed. Quickness alone does not make a player a consensus top pick.

Ruggs is actually a very skilled and complete receiver.

He as tremendous balance and lower body strength that should allow him to rack up yards after first contact. He is also a polished route-runner that as a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

The Value: B+

ESPN ranked Ruggs as the third-best wide receiver and the 11th best overall player in the draft. Some will consider it a reach to have taken him above the aforementioned Lamb and Jeudy.

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However, this is by no means the same type of reach the Raiders made when they shockingly took Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

This was not a pick out of left field. Many credible draft experts agree that Ruggs’ unique speed made him worthy of being the first player selected at his position.

I have personally written about how I believed that CeeDee Lamb was the best overall receiver in this class and how he was a wise fit for Las Vegas.

However, we should all be excited about the game-breaking talent the Raiders added to their roster with the 12th overall pick. This is a solid selection by every metric.

Overall Grade: A

The Raiders nailed their first pick in the draft. They had clearly done their homework and were able to get their guy.

There was a time in recent Raiders’ history where a selection like this would have been a point of concern amongst the fans of the team. The franchise, unfortunately, developed a reputation of reaching for players based on their speed, only to see them fall short of expectations.

However, those days are clearly in the past. Gruden and Mayock have done a good job of identifying talent, drafting wisely, and building a competent roster. For the first time in years, I trust the team and their front office.

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

The Henry Ruggs pick is one that would have made former owner Al Davis proud. It also means that the most dangerous playmaker in the 2020 NFL Draft will be calling Las Vegas home for the foreseeable future.