What We Saw: Round 1 of the NFL Draft
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Raiders
Henry Ruggs III continued to rise throughout the draft process, ending up as the first wideout selected. From what I have gathered Ruggs is a bit misunderstood as a prospect. The blazing speed has many people pegging him as a deep threat, ignoring the fact that he was not used this way at Alabama. Ruggs featured more in the intermediate and short game using his incredible speed to turn short routes into massive plays. This might have been a result of the uber-talented teammates surrounding him at Alabama, but at the very least it shows he is more dynamic than a simple “deep threat”.
This pick (ahead of Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb) signals how highly the Raiders valued Ruggs. He instantly becomes the wide receiver to own on this team and his fit with Derek Carr could be very good. As I alluded to above, Ruggs’ comfort in working the short game meshes with Carr’s low-risk profile. If the check-downs are inevitable, why not draft a player that can make those plays dangerous? I will not rule out the chance that Ruggs develops some deep chemistry with Carr, however, I think relying on attacking multiple areas of the field makes him a more enticing prospect. Ruggs should be a high pick in dynasty leagues and likely fits in as a WR3 or FLEX option at the moment for redraft leagues.
Effect on New Team
As tackles flew off the board the Raiders’ front office had to be smiling. They got a shot at a game-changing player, one that can alter an entire game plan. Whether or not Ruggs is a bonafide deep threat his talent requires defensive attention, at all times. For an offensive coordinator that is a blessing. Having Ruggs allows Gruden to manipulate the defense in ways that were not possible last year. Further, having this type of outlet on the field should enhance Carr’s natural tendencies. This is really a win for the Raiders.