These are some of the things we know about wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in the early stages of his career with the Las Vegas Raiders:
- He is a dynamic weapon.
- The Raiders need to target him more.
- Ruggs has to learn how to get open more.
Indeed, it has been an interesting NFL start for Ruggs, who the Raiders took with the No. 12 overall pick in Alabama. It would be silly and inaccurate to say the Raiders made a mistake by drafting him or that Ruggs won’t live up to his draft status. The kid can make plays. We’ve seen it
Ruggs has eight catches for 212 yards for a ridiculous 26.5 per catch average. But the Raiders have to get him the ball more. Ruggs, who has missed two games due to injury, was targeted just three times against Tampa Bay.
That has to increase. Yes, Ruggs can affect the game as a decoy. but the first receiver taken in the draft needs to be more than a decoy. The Raiders must press the issue.
On Monday, Raiders coach Jon Gruden agreed with that notion, but he also said Ruggs has to win more battles.
“We tried (Sunday), but give Tampa Bay credit,“ Gruden said. “They covered Ruggs, and a few times they covered him like a blanket. So Ruggs has to beat 1-on-1 coverage. Certainly, we have to diagram more plays to get him the ball, but when it is 1-on-1 we need him to win. He knows that. We know that. We’re going to continue to work him in our offense. He’s still a young player.”
There is nothing to be alarmed about here. Really, it’s the opposite. The Raiders know Ruggs can be a factor. They just have work on getting him the ball more and let him grow into his role.