Henry Ruggs III is a speedster who matched up with the best in college while also competing for targets with Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith at Alabama. He averaged 18.7 yards per catch, bringing in 40 passes for 746 yards and seven touchdowns last year, his junior season. He also returned kickoffs at 23.6 yards per return and had a 75-yard rushing touchdown in 12 games.
Ruggs’ speed is legitimate, as he clocked a 4.27 40 at the combine. With his speed alone, the defense will be on their heels, even in the NFL. But, as we’ve seen time and time again, speed doesn’t equate into great offensive production. The good news is, Ruggs isn’t just a speedster and the NFL is finding better ways to use a player like Ruggs offensively.
Ruggs doesn’t just use his quickness to get open, as he is a strong route runner and has good hands. He is at his best as a deep receiver, as his speed and route running allows him to get way behind defenses, but can also take a slant to the house. His work in space needs some help, but he’s being drafted for his deep ball ability, as everyone needs a Tyreek Hill/DeSean Jackson prototype on their team.
Ruggs’ speed alone helps both the running and passing games because it forces safeties into more passive positioning. He can work all three levels and his ability to turn slants and crossing routes into big gainers could make him the favorite gift under the tree for a quarterback and offense in need of an explosive weapon. — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
Mock Draft Results
Mel Kiper, ESPN: Broncos
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Dolphins
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Jets
Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire: Dolphins
Fantasy impact: Rookie year
Ruggs might not ever be a consistent fantasy producer, as many of his fantasy points will come on splash plays, but in the right offense, he could see more consistency than in the wrong one. Kyle Shanahan’s offense would be a great one for him to get touches that aren’t deep passes early in his career, but that likely won’t happen. If he lands on a team where he’ll quickly see full time snaps, he’s got too much offensive power to be held down completely, so he does have some upside year one, but much will depend on his landing spot.
Fantasy impact: Career
Ruggs’ dynasty value is through the roof and he should easily be in the top half of rookie drafts this season. Landing spot is still a consideration of course, but the blueprint on how to use someone like Ruggs is out there and not all offensive coordinators are Brian Schottenheimer.