When the Las Vegas Raiders host the Denver Broncos on Sunday, rookie receiver Henry Ruggs will get his first chance to show another top receiver taken in the 2020 draft that the Raiders made the right choice by making him the first receiver selected, at No. 12 overall.
The Broncos took Ruggs’ Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy three picks later. Jeudy is entering this matchup with much more momentum that Ruggs, who has struggled to make a consistent impact so far.
In his past 3 games, Henry Ruggs has been on field for 76 pass plays for #Raiders. He has been targeted 10 times with four catches for 43 yards on those plays— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 9, 2020
Ruggs — who missed two games — has 10 catches for 220 yards. While h has made some big plays and has shown off his blazing 4.27 speed that was a huge factor in the Raiders drafting him, Ruggs just hasn’t been as involved in the passing game as he should be.
Meanwhile, Jeudy is coming off a huge Week 9 game in which he had seven catches for 125 yards in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Jeudy has 30 catches for 484 yards.
CeeDee Lamb, taken No. 17 by the Dallas Cowboys, has 44 catches for 595 yards despite all the flux at quarterback for the Cowboys. Justin Jefferson, who was taken at No. 22 by the Minnesota Vikings, has 34 catches for 627 yards.
Among the six receivers taken in the first round, Philadelphia’s Jalen Reagor has the fewest catches with eight, but he has only played in three games. Ruggs is right in front of him with 10 catches in six games. Tee Higgins, taken with the first pick of the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals, has 33 catches for 488 yards.
The Raiders’ decision at No 12 came down to Ruggs, Jeudy and Lamb. They went for speed and fit into their offense. Yet, there is no doubt that Jeudy and Lamb look like sure future No. 1 receivers. The Raiders’ leader in receptions among wide receivers is slot receiver Hunter Renfrow with 27 catches for 369 yards.
So, the Raiders need a top receiver to develop. It’s time for Ruggs, who the Raiders love and believe in, to take he next step. Again, it would be inaccurate to say he has been a disappointment. He has ability and he has made some big plays, but we need to see more from him,
Perhaps a matchup with his college teammate will be just what Ruggs needs to fire him up.