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Henry Ruggs III pick will long be remembered

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Jon Gruden takes his speedster

New Mexico State v Alabama
Henry Ruggs III
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NFL draft board fell perfectly for the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night.

There were no trades and all three receivers sat on the board when the Raiders selected at No. 12. The Jaguars also did the Raiders a favor when they took Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson at No. 9, so the Raiders didn’t have to be tempted with a cornerback vs. receiver dilemma.

The Raiders were then laser-focused on a receiver, with the cream of the draft class all there: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. The general consensus was Lamb and Jeudy were the top choices and Ruggs was the third best receiver on the board.

In the end, it didn’t matter that all three receivers were on the board. Jon Gruden got his guy. Clearly, Ruggs was his top pick.

NBCSports’ Peter King reported this week that Lamb was the favorite of Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock, but Gruden preferred Ruggs.

There you go. This is another reminder that Gruden runs the Raiders. He wanted a speed guy and that is Ruggs. The dude flies with 4.27 speed.

Gruden will surely have fun working Ruggs into his playbook. The thing I worry about is whether Ruggs can be a true No. 1. He might just be a system guy. But with tight end Darren Waller, and receivers Tyrell Williams and slot man Hunter Renfrow, it should help quarterback Derek Carr.

The thing is, the Raiders will have to live with the comparisons to Lamb (Dallas took him at No. 17) and Jeudy (who was taken by the rival Broncos at No. 15) for the long haul. If they become true No. 1 receivers, and Ruggs – who has been compared to former Raiders’ top pick Darrius Heyward-Bey – doesn’t, this will haunt the Raiders and Gruden.

But the word is Ruggs has a great work ethic. Combine work ethic and speed, and you can have something special. So, while Ruggs might not be the best receiver in this class, Gruden is betting that he is. Let’s see what happens.