Most of the wide receivers that were drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft will be in great situations as rookies. For example, Jerry Jeudy will play opposite of Courtland Sutton in Denver and CeeDee Lamb will be the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
But what about No. 12 pick Henry Ruggs III of the Las Vegas Raiders? Despite being the first receiver drafted, he may have landed in a “not-so-great” situation given his skill set. In a recent article by Pro Football Focus, senior writer Michael Renner expressed doubt about Ruggs in Las Vegas as a rookie:
“The worry with Ruggs isn’t whether he will see the field, but rather will he be put in a position to succeed? He goes to a quarterback in Derek Carr who targeted deep routes at the fifth-lowest rate of any starter in the NFL. When targeting receivers last season, his average depth of target was only 10.3 yards downfield (fifth-lowest in NFL). That number was 10.2 in 2018, as well (lowest in NFL). You can make a chicken or the egg argument, but the place where Ruggs’ speed is most dangerous hasn’t been in his new quarterback’s wheelhouse.”
Outside of his fit with Derek Carr, there is also some concern that Ruggs will be asked to do “too much” right away in the Raiders’ offense. Ruggs will likely be covered by the opponent’s top defensive back and that could prove to be troublesome early in his career.
Ruggs should find his rhythm in the Raiders’ offense in due time, but don’t expect a monster rookie season from the former Alabama receiver. Instead, look for his value to come in other ways, opening up routes underneath for players like Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow.