The Las Vegas Raiders surprised several NFL insiders when they selected Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. In a draft deep in receiver talent, Las Vegas Raiders owner told ESPN.com:
“He was the only person I wanted in this draft.”
So far, Ruggs has not quite lived up to the hype and pressure of being the highest drafted receiver in 2020. In his rookie season with the Raiders, Ruggs had 26 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns.
These numbers pale in comparison to his fellow rookie wide receivers, the Minnesota Vikings' Justin Jefferson - 125 receptions for 1,400 yards and seven TDs, and the Dallas Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb - 74 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns.
It wasn’t all bad news, though, for Henry Ruggs III in his debut year in the NFL. He led all rookie receivers with 17.4 yards per reception. The stat highlights the Raiders wideout's ability to get separation and catch the deep ball.
The second-year receiver is now ready to move on from his rookie campaign.
"Last year, last year is in the past. I guess it was probably frustrating at times, but like I said, that's in the past and we build on it. It's a fresh start now and we're going to work to make it better."
Henry Ruggs III basking in his first NFL offseason program
After the pandemic canceled all preseason workouts for NFL teams last season, Ruggs is enjoying his first in-person offseason workout program.
"So, we're building chemistry and we're working around each other," Ruggs said. "We know what guys like and what guys want to do and things like that. So I'll say that's the biggest thing -- chemistry, just learning the ins and outs of the offense and just learning the guys and knowing who to put in what situation,” he told ESPN.
Henry Ruggs III has added competition this year after the Raiders added fellow speedsters John Brown and Willie Snead IV this offseason. The second-year wide receiver is set to welcome the new faces to the offense and is determined to have a breakout season in 2021.
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"Honestly, I don't think anybody's expectations for me are higher than myself," Henry Ruggs III said.