Alabama football is not just losing one WR to the first round of the NFL draft, they are losing two. Arguably the two best WR in the draft. Ruggs is going to make the Las Vegas Raiders very happy.
Henry Ruggs is one of the fastest Alabama football players in history and very nearly broke the combine record 40 time. He is going to be part of the next generation of NFL wideout in the mold of super bowl winning WR Tyreek Hill.
Ruggs was very vocal about his intent to break John Ross’s combine record 4.22 40 yard dash time. He came very close posting a 4.27. Many scouts were skeptical that he could actually post a time that fast, so his stock skyrocketed. Some analysts believed he would end up as the first WR off the board and they were proven correct.
Ruggs’s skill set is going to be heavily dependent on scheme although it is likely that the Raiders will adjust their scheme to fit his skills. Ruggs is not the polished route runner that Jeudy is but is better at making plays after the catch and in the open field.
Ruggs needs space to be most effective. As Alabama football fans know his favorite play was the short slant that he could take for 80 yards to the endzone. He can, of course, also be very effective on deep routes similar to Randy Moss.
One thing I will say about Ruggs is that out of the three top WRs he has the biggest bust potential. Historically speaking, guys who are too reliant on just speed at WR tend to have short NFL careers. It is more difficult for them to withstand the grind of a now 17 game schedule.
Ruggs did struggle some with injuries this season. He had a couple of minor injuries late in the season and then suffered another injury in the bowl game against Michigan. So, there may be concern about his longevity.
Ruggs going to Las Vegas as the first overall WR is a strong surprise. He will make Jon Gruden and whoever the Las Vegas QB ends up being, very happy. His speed on the outside will definitely be a welcome addition to a team that has struggled in the passing game since they traded away former Alabama football WR Amari Cooper.
I thought that the Raiders would be taking Jerry Jeudy, but Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock had other ideas.
You can see all of the rest of Alabama’s first round draft picks here at Bama Hammer.