Even with some departures the Alabama Crimson Tide offense is loaded and primed for a huge 2019 season. While Jerry Jeudy rightfully gets a lot of attention and so does Jaylen Waddle, it’s the third guy Henry Ruggs who can kinda get lost in the shuffle. But this former 4 Star prospect has developed into a star receiver in his own right and someone who is starting to generate some of his own NFL Draft hype. In the Henry Ruggs NFL Draft Summer Preview we’ll look at where he wins, concerns and what his NFL outlook could be.
Where Henry Ruggs Wins
Henry Ruggs is equipped with explosive speed that allows him to quickly get up to top speed that allows him to blow past defenders. Ruggs primarily lines up in the slot which allows him to play off the line getting free releases and get to top speed without much preventing him. With this speed Ruggs is able to not only win over the top but use the deep threat to set up the rest of his routes. Cornerbacks and safeties have to honor his speed which makes him getting underneath much easier as he is often allotted a nice cushion so the defender doesn’t get beat.
Ruggs is also used in some run action on fly sweeps either as a decoy or a straight up weapon. In the above clip Henry Ruggs shows his ability to use that speed to get to the perimeter and then make a strong cut up field for the long touchdown. With the ball in his hands and even the littlest amount of space he’s able to pick up extra yards and create big plays.
Concerns about Henry Ruggs
While Ruggs has good speed and athletic ability he tends to rely too much on those physical traits to get open. While this will work in college and even from time to time in the NFL, if he wants to be considered a top flight weapon he’ll need to be able to do more than just beat the cornerback with speed. Listed at 190lbs Ruggs looks lean and can get pushed around. You see this a lot when he tries to run block but that could be more evident when he sees more press and has to release off the line against it.
NFL Draft Outlook
Henry Ruggs reminds me a lot of Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown who was just drafted with the 25th overall pick. Now Brown and Ruggs are not identical prospects as Brown had elite speed and Ruggs is physically bigger. But their playing styles are very similar in that they use their speed to win deep but still can work underneath. It will be interesting to watch Ruggs throughout the 2019 season to see if he has improved on his route running and if he does there is a shot that he can be drafted int he first round. However at this point he looks like he’s destined for Day two.