With the 12th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders select Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs …
Henry Ruggs Career Statistics
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The intersection of his athleticism and lack of production is where the difference is the question at hand when it comes to Ruggs. We know the NFL pays the cost for speed and Ruggs’ 4.27 40-yard time paired with a 96th percentile explosion score (vert + broad) was going to carry allure at the top of this draft.
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Despite his physical gifts, Ruggs’s best collegiate seasons were 46 receptions and 746 yards through the air. Even accounting for a stellar Alabama receiving unit top-to-bottom, his production profile is extremely light. He had just four 100-yard receiving games total over three seasons, with two of those coming against Citadel and Louisiana.
Despite his speed, Ruggs was not the Alabama wideout getting downfield targets, posting a 11.7-yard average depth of target with just four catches on throws 20-plus yards downfield per Pro Football Focus. That could be a positive indicator in the subjective support he is getting as a better all-around receiver than he is credited for over just being the fastest man on the field, but he wasn’t the option in the offense that was used vertically.
Even with the small sample of catches and opportunity, Ruggs’s rate stats are strong, catching 70.5% of his collegiate targets for 17.9 yards per catch. 24.5% of his career receptions went for a touchdown, the highest rate in this draft class. Even as a freshman and catching only 12 passes total, he led the Alabama team in receiving touchdowns, which had Calvin Ridley, Irv Smith Jr., and Jerry Jeudy all on the field.
The ghost of Al Davis seemingly made this pick with Ruggs the first wide receiver taken in the draft, but it is an immediate need for the offense. A year ago, the Raiders wideouts combined for 13.3 targets (30th), 8.8 receptions (28th), and 114.4 yards (29th) per game.
Their leading wide receiver from a year ago was Hunter Renfrow with 49 receptions and Tyrell Williams led the team with 651 yards. Ruggs’s skill set is an intriguing marriage with Derek Carr, who was 34th in the league in depth of target (6.9 yards) a year ago, which means the Raiders are betting on Ruggs being a more complete player. Ruggs jumps into the WR4/WR5 conversation.