Las Vegas offensive coordinator Greg Olson said "we'll start with Ruggs in the slot" when describing the utilization of the Raiders' rookie receivers, USA Today reports.
Ruggs and his 4.27 speed project well outside, where he has more space to put his speed into motion, but it also makes sense for the Raiders to feature him in the slot to get him some quick targets. If Ruggs is playing in the slot, though, it generally pushes Hunter Renfrow out of the picture. Renfrow was one of the good parts of the 2019 Raiders offense, so at a glance it seems unlikely that he'd get outright benched in favor of Ruggs. Olsen's comments could instead read as acknowledgment of the chronological order of Ruggs' studies -- i.e., at slot initially, and then branching outside later -- rather than any sort of hierarchy or other permanent takeaway. Indeed, in the same quote Olsen mentioned that Ruggs will eventually line up all over. It's arguably a good sign for Ruggs either way, because if the Raiders are lining him in the slot then it shows a seriousness to get him the ball right away. The biggest concern with Ruggs all along was that he might get left to decoy functions with his safety-clearing speed, but Olsen's comments imply that they mean to get him the football out of the gate on short slot routes, which is a better target fit for the downfield-averse Derek Carr. Generally speaking, though, it will be a concerning sight for Renfrow investors whenever Ruggs steps into the slot.
Ruggs (thigh) called himself "100 percent" during a conference call Thursday, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. "I feel totally like myself, if not better," Ruggs said. "I'm ready to go."
Ruggs suffered a laceration to his thigh while helping a friend move back in May, requiring stitches and crutches to move about initially. That said, he mentioned he was "hard-headed" during his rehab, which amounted to doing more than his doctor's recommendation to get ahead of schedule in his recovery. Now healthy, Ruggs can set his sights on ramping his activity level with the strength and conditioning staff in the near future and on the practice field by mid-August.