Our next prospect we go back to Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s second standout receiver in Henry Ruggs III. Tua Tagovailoa has been gifted with talented receivers around him in Jeudy, Ruggs, Smith and Waddle. Now, three of these prospects, including Ruggs, look to hear their name called early in the 2020 NFL Draft in April.
This year, Alabama has some gifted receivers and Henry Ruggs III is arguably the fastest receiver on that team and in this draft. His speed is definitely up there with Tyreek Hill, who recorded a 4.25 40 time. We very well could have a new 40-yard dash record holder at the combine, just two years after Bengals wideout John Ross broke Chris Johnson’s record. Ruggs is a lot of fun to watch, as he has elite hands and is very tough to catch.
What I have seen so far this season from Henry Ruggs is that this guy is fast. Seriously. Watching tape on him shows me that he is built for speed. He is elusive. I think he could be a solid slot wide receiver in the NFL, he has the size for it. There is no doubt that his speed will carry him to the NFL.
Henry Ruggs is fast enough to beat John Ross’ 40-yard dash record. He’s a guy who can and will run right by you. Ruggs isn’t just a straight line speed guy however. He can turn nothing into something with his slipperiness. He will make you look silly in the open field. Finally, Ruggs has great hands. He’s a good hands catcher and has the ability to make strong contested catches.
There’s no player in the 2020 NFL draft class faster than Henry Ruggs III. With Ruggs’ speed he has the ability to beat defenders with his lateral quickness and ability to run after the catch. Speed isn’t the only trait Ruggs provides as he runs crisp routes and tracks the ball at an elite level. Even though he’s 190 pounds, Ruggs is a tough runner and is impressive with yards after contact.
Ruggs III is the second receiver from Alabama and believe it or not he’s faster and a bigger vertical threat than his teammate Jeudy who will probably go in the top-10. Vertically he can blow past most corners, but his speed is not the only thing he needs to rely on, as he has very strong hands and a great vertical, even though he doesn’t have ideal size as an outside receiver.
Ruggs is fast, really fast. Another standout WR from Alabama, Ruggs will also look to continue to succeed in the NFL, much like fellow Alabama alumni like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley. His speed will get him to the NFL. He also has an amazing vertical so not only can he fly by defenders, he can jump over them if need be. Ruggs will be an exciting player to watch at the NFL Combine, where his stock will certainly go up.
The main weakness with Henry Ruggs III is his route running. This is something that is overlooked with his elite speed and something he will need to work on to be fully elite at the next level.
He is also a bit on the leaner side, which affects his ability to create separation as well as his blocking.
Ruggs’ downfall, in my opinion, could be his size. At 6 feet he isn’t the tallest guy on the field. He won’t necessarily be able to go up and grab the football. His route running isn’t perfect, either. Ruggs won’t be a guy that can make a play off the cuff, and if he does, his speed will be the reason for it.
Ruggs is mostly just a physical specimen. He needs work on his route running. Ruggs struggles to create separation with his route running. If he can’t run past you he probably won’t be getting himself open.
Even though he’s a tough runner, being 190 pounds in the NFL isn’t ideal. He showed great toughness in college, but the NFL is a different level and could get him hurt. With his size, he isn’t the most physical wide receiver for jump-ball situations. For a speedster like Ruggs, he does struggle to find separation in man coverage. If Ruggs can bulk up he can improve in man-to-man separation and on jump-balls.
Much like Jeudy, Ruggs III is undersized. If he needs to use his body to box out defensive ends, that could be a challenge for him unless he is 10-15 lbs. heavier. He is young, so doing that shouldn’t affect his speed and vertical as much. Lastly, because of his explosiveness and effectiveness in the vertical passing game, he wasn’t called on much to run routes. In order for him to grow and become a viable outside receiver in the NFL, he’ll need to develop that to get an even more upper-hand against defensive ends and not completely rely on his speed.
Ruggs’ frame will certainly hold him back in the NFL. At 6’0 and 190 lbs. he will never be the biggest guy on the field. With the NFL shifting towards the taller and stronger wide receivers, Ruggs will have to take advantage of his speed and vertical in order to separate from defenders. If he can improve on his route running too, he could easily become one of the best slot receivers in the game.
Draft Projection: When will Henry Ruggs III hear his name called on draft day?
Henry Ruggs III is first round talent. I would say somewhere in the top 20-25. Any team would love to have a speedy playmaker like Ruggs. Teams like the Eagles and Bills could really benefit from having a guy like Ruggs. The Eagles have battled through injuries on their offense all season, and Nelson Agholor has not lived up to his first-round potential. Carson Wentz could really benefit from having another pass catcher like Ruggs. The Bills signed Cole Beasley and John Brown this offseason, who have not done bad compared to the previous receivers Buffalo has had. But, the Bills still need another guy who can make an instant impact, and you could put Ruggs as your WR2 over Beasley. Ruggs is going to be scary in the NFL and wherever he goes he will be fun to watch.
Ruggs has tremendous speed, one that will get him drafted in the first two rounds. John Ross was fast enough to get drafted in the first round, and there is no way that Ruggs does not have a chance to walk across the stage.
Ruggs’ physical tools make him an easy choice to be a first round pick. If he does end up running a record 40-time he could even see himself inside the top-15. Teams like Philadelphia and Miami could use his propensity for the big play and ability to take the top off a defense.
Today’s NFL speed kills and that’s what Henry Ruggs III provides. Ruggs is a dynamic playmaker that is going to be a mismatch for a lot of defenses. Even with a stacked receiving class, Ruggs should be a top 25 pick in the 2020 draft.
Ruggs is an upper-tier receiver prospect in a very top-heavy draft at that position. Seven wideouts are likely to go in the first-round and any team that gets Ruggs III has their vertical passing threat for years to come. He should go in the top 20, as the third receiver taken.
Much like his teammate, Jerry Jeudy, Ruggs is first round talent. While there are options on the board that are better than Ruggs, the team who decides to take him will be more than pleased with what they will get. I would expect Ruggs to be gone well before the Packers pick late in the first round.