It was certainly an up-and-down season for rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs. He made his fair share of big plays, but he didn’t produce at the level of other first-round wide receivers either. There were games where he had a big impact and there were others where he was nearly invisible.
Entering Year 2, the Raiders are going to need Ruggs to develop into more than just a complementary player. After the team lost Nelson Agholor, the leading wide receiver from 2020 in free agency, Ruggs needs to become a more consistent and viable option in the passing game.
In his recent media availability, Jon Gruden talked about Ruggs entering 2021 and explained his struggles from last season:
“Ruggs didn’t have an offseason program last year like a lot of these rookies. He got hurt in the first game against Carolina, got the Coronavirus last year, missed some more time. He’s a big reason why Darren Waller had a big year because the threat of Ruggs. We don’t want Ruggs to just be threat. We’d like him to be on the receiving end of a lot of those threats. So, we’re trying to get him more and more involved in the pass offense, and so far, so good.”
It’s encouraging that the Raiders are trying to find more ways to get him involved in the passing game as they need his explosiveness. As Gruden mentioned, Ruggs needs to be more than just a deep threat. He needs to be a reliable receiver who can win in several ways beyond just running fast down the field.
How Ruggs develops this season will greatly impact the success of this team in 2021. They need the former first-round pick to improve and take a big step in Year 2. And by the sounds of it through minicamp, it appears Ruggs is on the right track.
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