The Raiders have a history of embracing really fast receivers. They made the fastest receiver (and player) in the 2020 draft the first receiver picked.
Alabama’s Henry Ruggs, taken twelfth overall, becomes the latest speedster in a tradition dating back to James Jett and Cliff Branch.
Waller also said that, while watching Ruggs run a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, a friend said that Ruggs’ speed “was a like roach when [you put] the lights on.”
Speed definitely makes a huge difference, especially as it relates to stretching a defense, forcing the secondary to cover the entire field, and opening up the underneath routes for other potential pass catchers. But speed alone won’t get it done at the NFL level. Ruggs will have to show that he can get away from strong, capable corners who will jam Ruggs at the line of scrimmage, slowing him down, disrupting the timing of his route, and/or redirecting his path. He’ll also have to show that he can make a catch with an NFL-caliber safety preparing to deliver a big hit, even if receivers are less susceptible to a huge hit while in the process of making a catch than they used to be.
Still, plenty of things about the receiver position can be acquired or learned. One thing can’t: The ability to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Ruggs has that.