Henry Ruggs was the first receiver taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, and his combination of speed and quickness was an attractive component for head coach Jon Gruden’s West Coast-style offense.
However, Ruggs rarely got the opportunity to show those traits off in his rookie season as he recorded an underwhelming 26 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games. Ruggs took a backseat to the other pass-catchers like Darren Waller and Nelson Agholor, but this time around will have a bigger chance to show he was worth a first-round selection.
Gruden has been high on the players this offseason and noted that he would like to get Ruggs more touches on offense. “I think our players have bought in. I think we’re as good as anybody in the league or better,” Gruden said. “We hope to have every man vaccinated and, most importantly, every man as safe as possible when the season starts.
“In terms of Ruggs, Ruggs didn’t have an offseason program last year like a lot of these rookies,” Gruden said. “He got hurt in the first game against Carolina, got the Coronavirus last year, missed some more time. He’s a big reason why Darren Waller had a big year because the threat of Ruggs. We don’t want Ruggs to just be threat. We’d like him to be on the receiving end of a lot of those threats. So, we’re trying to get him more and more involved in the pass offense, and so far, so good.”
Ruggs has blazing downfield speed that can stretch opposing defenses and open up the short and intermediate areas of the field, but he is also capable of making plays anywhere he is lined up in the formation. Waller and Josh Jacobs will be the focal points of the offense again, but having someone like Ruggs who can do damage in multiple spots will be crucial in elevating the Raiders to where they want to go.