Second-year receivers are always popular breakout candidates, but Henry Ruggs doesn't quite have the same appeal as others from his 2020 class. A disappointing rookie year saw Ruggs get just 43 targets in 13 games, catching 60.5% of them for numbers that don't reflect well on the former first-round pick. Of note, 35% of his entire target share came on deep throws, where he caught 5 of 15 such passes. Raiders GM Mike Mayock admitted disappointment in Ruggs and added that he needed to get stronger and improve how he gets in and out of his breaks when running routes. Realistically, Ruggs needs expansive target growth to even have a chance to sniff Fantasy lineups in 2021. Replacing Nelson Agholor with John Brown sure won't help that cause. It's going to take a bonkers preseason for Fantasy managers to buy into Ruggs as a breakout receiver. Until then, Fantasy managers will throw darts at him around and after 120th overall on Draft Day as a receiver with high upside, but plenty of downside.
Ruggs says he's put on 13 pounds since the end of last season, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Ruggs weighed 188 at the 2020 Combine and is listed at 190 on the Raiders' website, so he may now be pushing 200 pounds as the team kicks off training camp. Despite his disappointing rookie campaign, Ruggs has every opportunity to become the No. 1 receiver in Las Vegas, competing with 31-year-old John Brown and fellow 2020 draft pick Bryan Edwards. While speed will always be his calling card, Ruggs could have more impact on short and intermediate routes now that he's stronger, perhaps benefitting overall even if it means sacrificing a touch of his 4.27 speed.
Ruggs could face veteran competition for snaps after the Raiders signed John Brown and Willie Snead to replace Nelson Agholor (Patriots), Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group reports. Agholor unexpectedly emerged as the team's No. 1 wideout and top deep threat last season, essentially filling the role that Ruggs was drafted for. Meanwhile, the first-round pick put up a 26/452/2 receiving line in 13 games, with a couple huge plays surrounded by month-long stretches of near-invisibility. With Snead and Hunter Renfrow likely competing for slot work, the top candidates for perimeter snaps are Ruggs, Brown and Bryan Edwards. The Raiders surely hope their 2020 first-round pick can step up as the top guy, but Vic Tafur of the Athletic suggests the team may actually be more confident in Edwards, who was selected 69 picks later (81st overall) in the same draft. It's possible Ruggs opens his second pro season in a rotation if he doesn't assert himself ahead of Edwards in training camp.
Ruggs (concussion) finished his rookie season with 26 catches for 452 yards and four touchdowns on 43 targets, starting 12 of his 13 games. Apart from the Week 17 contest in which he suffered a concussion, Ruggs played at least 54 percent of offensive snaps in every appearance. He burnt the Chiefs for 118 yards and a touchdown in his third NFL game, but then had just 79 receiving yards total over the next five contests. The first-round pick did make one of the most memorable plays of the 2020 campaign, torching the Jets in Week 13 for a go-ahead, 46-yard TD with five seconds remaining. Ruggs otherwise went unnoticed for much of the year, with TE Darren Waller being the Raiders' volume hog and WR Nelson Agholor emerging as the big-play threat. Ruggs didn't live up to his billing as the first wideout drafted in a deep class for the position, but he probably showed enough potential to enter 2021 training camp with a starting job. The spot across from him is the big question mark, with Agholor scheduled for free agency and Tyrell Williams (shoulder) a likely cap casualty. Fellow 2020 draft pick Bryan Edwards could also enter the mix for perimeter snaps, despite catching only 11 passes as a rookie.
Ruggs is being evaluated for a concussion and is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Broncos. Ruggs secured all three of his targets for 38 yards before leaving the field, but he also fumbled on his only carry. Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones will stand to handle increased roles if Ruggs can't return Sunday.
Ruggs took one carry for seven yards, but he failed to catch either of his two targets in Saturday's 26-25 loss to the Dolphins. Ruggs was ineffective as a receiver in his return from the reserve/COVID list, but he still managed to log his usual workload (44 offensive snaps) after missing Week 15. The pass-catching trio of Nelson Agholor, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow combined for 301 yards and a score on 15 total receptions, so it's a shame Ruggs couldn't benefit from quarterback Derek Carr's 9.88 yards per attempt effort. Ruggs should now be able to participate in a full week of practice ahead of the Raiders' season finale in Denver.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/04||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||20.25|
|9||11/07||@New York Giants||9||20.38|
|10||11/14||Kansas City Chiefs||2||18.47|
|13||12/05||Washington Football Team||5||19.35|
|14||12/12||@Kansas City Chiefs||2||18.47|
|18||01/09||Los Angeles Chargers||7||20.25|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||43||26||452||2||13||17.38||57|