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What to do with Henry Ruggs?

What should we be doing with Henry Ruggs? Joe Colonna dives deeper into the young Raiders receiver.

Henry Ruggs is a player that does not have a lot of positive vibes around him, but is it warranted? What should we be doing with Ruggs in dynasty leagues? Let’s examine!

DRAFT PEDIGREE

Courtesy of Raider Ramble

Ruggs was a first-round draft pick in the 2020 draft, pick 12 overall. He was the first receiver off the board in the 2020 draft class. This same draft class had Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, and Chase Claypool, amongst others. Was this pick justified by the Raiders?

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceReceReceRece RushRushRushRush ScriScriScriScri
Year School Class G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2017AlabamaFR141222919.160001222919.16
*2018AlabamaSO144674116.1110004674116.111
*2019AlabamaJR124074618.7727537.514282119.58
CareerAlabama98171617.52427537.51100179117.925

As you can see, Ruggs never had over 50 receptions, or 800 yards receiving in college. That is one negative right out of the gate. However, he was a part of an extremely crowded depth chart that consisted of Jeudy, Smith, Waddle, and Ruggs himself, all of which were first-round picks.

DRAFT METRICS

How did Ruggs perform in the combine drills? What made Ruggs the top receiver drafted in his class?

The two notable combine scores for Ruggs were his 4.27 40-yard dash time, which was in the 99th percentile among wide receivers, 42.0 vertical leap (98th percentile) the other speed drills where he was among the 97th percentile or above.

Clearly, the Raiders were intrigued by his natural gift of speed and vertical ability and thought he could develop into something special. It’s worth noting that Ruggs is not the biggest receiver, at just 5’11 and 188 lbs.

So far, we have an uninspiring college profile, along with a small receiver who is just fast. At the time, the Raiders needed to add speed in their receiver room, so it made sense why they drafted someone like Ruggs. However, there’s more to a receiver than just speed. How did that pick work out for the Raiders in year one? Let’s take a look at his rookie season and see if there is anything to have hope for.

ROOKIE SEASON

Receiving & Rushing Table
GameGame ReceReceReceReceReceReceReceReceReceReceRece RushRushRushRushRushRushRushRush TotaTotaTota
Year Age G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD 1D Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt Rush Yds TD 1D Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb AV
2020211312432645217.4213722.034.860.5%10.594903125.43.80.73514.3501224
CareCare1312432645217.4213722.034.860.5%10.594903125.43.80.73514.3501224

As noted above, Ruggs played in 13 games his rookie season. He posted just 26 receptions, 452 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns on 43 targets. A very uninspiring season.

Via StatMuse

Here is a table that shows the production of all rookie receivers in 2020. When you sort by receiving yards, you see that Ruggs finished as the ninth receiver among rookies. When sorting by receiving yards per game, Ruggs had just 34.8 yards per game. Definitely an uninspiring start to his career. How about some advanced metrics? Are there any underlying stats that say there’s hope for the young receiver?

Ruggs played in 68.1% of snaps for the Raiders last season, which ranked 80th among all wideouts, and ran 331 routes all season. Ruggs had just a 10.3% target share during his rookie season.

Via Player Profiler

With an aDOT of 17.4 yards (2nd in the NFL), Ruggs displayed that he’s more of a deep threat than a possession receiver. He had 748 air yards, but just 143 yards after the catch all season.

Ruggs’ 60.5% catch rate was just WR81 among all receivers last year, which is terrible.

As for the efficiency stats, Ruggs did have a top-five yards per reception mark at 17.4 YPR. However, that’s not going to help a ton if he’s only able to get around 40-50 targets per season. Ruggs also had great separation as a rookie, 2.31 yards of separation.

Via Player Profiler

Those are the only positives I could find for Ruggs: a high aDOT, high YPR mark, and high separation. These do not correlate well with consistent, week-to-week performers.

Do you want to know who Ruggs reminds me of after seeing this type of production? John Ross and DeSean Jackson. Someone who is good for a very small amount of monster games per year, and not a whole lot else.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Raiders also made notable changes in their wide receiver room this off-season. Nelson Agholor has departed to New England, and replacing Agholor is John Brown. Willie Snead was brought in as well.

According to Fantasy Points Strength of Schedule, the Raiders had a top 12 schedule for receivers in 2020, but for 2021, the Raiders have the second hardest schedule for wide receivers.

Now that we have the data in front of us, let’s review the positives and negatives surrounding Ruggs:

POSITIVES:

Draft pedigree

Speed

High aDOT.

NEGATIVES:

Lackluster production in both college and the NFL

Poor catch rates

Small in size

Not a ton of targets available

Mediocre quarterback play

Just a 10.3% target share

Tough schedule.

BUY OR SELL?

Courtesy of Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ruggs came into his rookie season with a golden opportunity and failed to produce. He is going to continue to see opportunities, because of his extremely high draft selection in 2021. With all of the positives and negatives outlined for Henry Ruggs, I’d try to sell.

Ruggs’ average draft position (ADP) at the moment is 114th overall, or the 55th receiver off the board in PPR dynasty leagues. Receivers going ahead of him are Corey Davis, Marquise Brown, Darnell Mooney, and Denzel Mims. Receivers going after Ruggs are Gabriel Davis, Mike Williams, Kadarrius Toney, and DeVante Parker.

Ruggs’ ADP seems reasonable in comparison to other WRs in this range. However, if I were in a startup draft, I would look elsewhere. Perhaps I’d take a look at a QB (J. Hurts, T. Lance, J. Fields) an RB (T. Pollard, A. Mattison, R. Jones types), or TE (I. Smith, M. Gesicki, E. Engram, etc) around this spot.

Overall, after looking into all of the data that is available, I would rather not invest in Henry Ruggs. I’d be selling or fading the player at this point in time.

That concludes this article on Henry Ruggs. Hopefully, this helped put some perspective on what to do with the young Get ready for your rookie draft with the DynastyGM!! Rankins, trade calculator, league analyzer, and much more. Just $2.99/month or better yet, bundle with the Nerd Herd for just $4.99/month and get extra podcasts, the Dynasty Prospect Film Room, and more.

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