- Top-1 percent Speed
- YAC ability
- Soft/consistent hands (3 career drops)
- Despite size can get up there and make catches over defenders
- Quickness/acceleration, can stop and be back at full speed in a flash
- Willing blocker, small but scrappy
- Big-play ability (25 percent of his career touches went for TD’s)
- Inconsistent in his release
- Awareness as a route-runner, doesn’t improvise based on what the defense shows him
- Route-running, especially on intermediate routes
- On most of his catches he was wide open, either due to his speed or because it was a designed screen or slant. Can get up there but can he catch in traffic at the next level?
Overall, outside of the narrative that he is mostly a vertical threat (only 12 deep receptions in his college career), the majority of criticisms and strengths analysts have ascribed to Ruggs are correct.
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Ruggs definitely has some things to work on to be a complete receiver, and a limited-production rookie season should not be surprising or very worrying. Most rookie receivers start off slow, and it’s relatively rare they are ever a true number No. 1 wide receiver day one.
His speed alone will open up things for his teammates, and his ability to take short passes for long gains means he will always be a threat even if his route-running is subpar to start — anyone can run a slant or screen.
You can’t teach speed, and you cannot teach hands, two things Ruggs possesses. It’s been a long time since the Raiders have had a receiver in the same vein as Henry Ruggs. Jacoby Ford would be the most similar, but the two players are on a completely different level.
The Raiders added a smart, sure-handed route runner in Hunter Renfrow last year, and a big physical receiver in Bryan Edwards this year. So Ruggs’ skillset as an explosive big-play threat rounds out the current receiver room perfectly.