Henry Ruggs Is A Burner (2020 NFL Draft)
Henry Ruggs, Alabama
Weight: 188 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.27 seconds
Vertical Jump: 42.0 inches
Broad Jump: 131.0 inches
3-Cone Drill: N/A
There are many differing opinions on Ruggs, as some believe he’s too small to be a high-impact player, while others believe he can have a Tyreek Hill-type impact. One thing we do know is that while at Alabama, he was surrounded by tons of talent. He’s one of four wide receivers in Alabama’s receiver group who’ll receive first-round consideration over the next few years.
Because of the fact that he was surrounded by so much talent, he didn’t post numbers that were bonkers, as he tallied 741 yards in 2018, and then 746 yards in 2019. Oddly enough, he only carried the ball just two times (that went for 75 yards and a touchdown) throughout his college career, but he did contribute on kickoff returns.
Here’s my detailed scouting report on Henry Ruggs (ratings out of five stars):
Built like a sturdy slot receiver, as he’s not a rail, but he’s also unlikely big enough to consistently win on the perimeter. He will likely struggle with press coverage from some of the bigger cornerbacks in the NFL. He was primarily a perimeter receiver at Alabama, though they did use him on some screens/reverses to utilize his speed. If he lands on a team with a creative offensive coordinator, they’re going to have fun moving him all over the field. Unfortunately, that’s not guaranteed, but he should be considered versatile with the experience he has playing the outside.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Route Running/Ability to Separate
Does a good job sinking his hips when he hits a break in a route. That allows him to cut where he needs to while maintaining plenty of speed. He could struggle with press coverage if his NFL team wants him to play on the perimeter, as he’s not a physical receiver and can be derailed on his route rather easily. He wins in his routes based on athleticism and speed, not necessarily due to him being a good route runner, because he’s not there yet. He needs to develop a false step at the break in his route, as it would prevent defenders from rounding their route to where he’s going. There may be some who compare him to Tyreek Hill because of the speed and build to his body, but I don’t see the quick-twitch movements that Hill has in his game. There’s also a lack of consistency in the urgency to his routes, as he doesn’t run every route with the same purpose.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
He’s fast as hell. You’re not going to catch him from behind. He’s quick in small spaces as well. He’s a threat at every level of the field, as he can take a handoff or slant to the house and has the speed to rip the top off a defense. If the defense plays off coverage, he’s going to run right by them. As evidenced by his 4.27-second 40-yard dash, speed is the last thing you need to worry about with Ruggs.
Can’t say he’ll be known for his hands based on what I’ve seen, though there are glimpses from time-to-time. He’s more of a let it come into his body-type receiver, which is odd because he had some of the biggest hands (10 1/8 inches) among receivers at the Combine. There are times where he’ll extend his hands away from his frame and make highlight-reel catches, so it’s not to say he’s incapable, but rather inconsistent when doing so. I wouldn’t consider his hands a negative, but more of something that needs refining and consistency. Oddly enough, his 2018 tape was better than his 2019 when it comes to flashing his hands.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
I’ve watched him running across the middle of the field quite often and have no clue how much pressure is on his quarterback. When running those routes, he must understand his role rather than run to a spot. If he’s going to be asked to play the slot, this is an area he needs to improve. His ball-tracking is phenomenal, as there were plenty of times he had to cool down his jets and wait for the ball to get to him. He also has rare elevation for someone of his size, as his 42-inch vertical suggests. If you haven’t seen the videos of him dunking a basketball, you really need to.
After the Catch
Has very good vision in the open field, and knows how to best utilize his speed, looking to turn on the jets when there’s any sort of green in front of him. The angles he takes suggest he’s fully aware of his speed and how to use it. Some will classify after the catch as tackle-breaking, but that’s not the type of player Ruggs is. He won’t be treated as a possession-style receiver who needs to break tackles for long gains. Getting him in space will create homeruns because of his ability after the catch. He’s slippery, fast, and no defender wants to be in a position where he’s stuck one-on-one with him in the open field.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Projected Draft Spot
When Ruggs hit sub-4.3 in the 40-yard dash, he practically guaranteed he’ll be drafted in the first-round. The biggest question marks about Ruggs come down to his ability to make plays when he’s no longer the third option on the team, as both Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith were the receiving leaders of the team. The Eagles have continually tried to find a speedster opposite Alshon Jeffery, and though DeSean Jackson will be back this year, he’s not the long-term solution (neither was Mike Wallace or Torrey Smith). That’s the area of the draft (15-25 range) where you should expect Ruggs to come off the board, as the Broncos and Saints are the other teams to watch.
Some might take this as an insult but comparing Ruggs to someone like Ted Ginn would be accurate. Many forgot just how good Ginn was supposed to be in the NFL, though his situation early-on in his career limited his output. Had he been with the Saints during the prime of his career, we would’ve known him as a different player. Some may want to say Tyreek Hill, but Ruggs doesn’t seem to have the intensity/volatility to his routes that Hill does, though the on-demand speed is certainly there. The truth is that Ruggs might be somewhere in-between Ginn and Hill, which would be absolutely fine for the team that drafts him. He’ll have an impact on game day.
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