Henry Ruggs III
Henry Ruggs III: Closer to Tyreek Hill or John Ross? It’s a storyline that will be fascinating to discuss as the 2020 NFL Draft gets closer and closer. (Butch Dill/AP Images)

Henry Ruggs III is one of the most fascinating prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Every team needs a deep threat and Ruggs is probably the best one available in this draft class. The 4.27 speed is easy to fall in love with. Here is the real question, if you Draft Ruggs, which guy are you getting? Will Henry Ruggs III be closer to Tyreek Hill or John Ross? It will go down as one of the better storylines in the 2020 NFL Draft.

There have been a lot of fast wide receivers flop at the NFL level. Darius Heyway-Bey, Tyrone Calico, Tavon Austin, Dri Archer, Trindon Holliday, Jerome Mathis, Jacoby Ford, and Marquise Goodwin are among recent examples. There are a hell of a lot more. The most noteworthy example is John Ross.

Ross has the record for the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.22. Ross was never a player I liked at Washington. I thought he struggled with press coverage and you couldn’t unsee the game where Marlon Humphrey put in a body bag during the bowl game. Ross was as sure fire of a bust as it got. The 4.22 40 time was just going to get some team in trouble.

Now, I don’t think Ruggs is as bad as Ross. However, I do believe in history repeating itself. When Ross ran his 2nd 40 time, he pulled up and got hurt. Ross never competed with the rest of the group for on field drills. Guess who also did that this year, Henry Ruggs II. Now Ruggs doesn’t have the lengthy injury history Ross did. Ross was a guy who was always hurt even in college. Still, it’s impossible for that to not make you nervous. Additionally, Ruggs is small 190 pounds and you don’t always see him play at multiple speed. Not a very sudden and shifty player. Ruggs hits the gas pedal and goes. So did John Ross.

What if he’s Tyreek Hill? We have seen what someone like Tyreek Hill has done for the Chiefs offense. You can’t cover him. You not only can’t cover Tyreek Hill, you have to guard the entire field. Travis Kelce runs wild in the middle while Hill is running go route 60 yards downfield and Patrick Mahomes can get him the ball. That’s why Kansas City is so scary. You won’t find many dudes running 4.27. If you want the next Tyreek Hill, this is your chance. Henry Ruggs III is that fast. That sort of player dictates coverages and changes the entire game.

There are reasons to be encouraged for Ruggs at the NFL level. When targeted, the Alabama quarterbacks had a passer rating of over 151 during his career. Having Tua Tagovailoa helps, but that’s an absurd number. Ruggs wasn’t just productive, he pretty much cashed in every time the ball was thrown in his direction. That matters.

Here’s another fact. 24 of his 98 catches went for touchdowns. Let me repeat that. TWENTY FOUR OF HIS NINETY-EIGHT CATCHES WENT FOR TOUCHDOWNS. That’s just ridiculous. No other way to describe it. It’s one thing to be a home run threat. It’s another to do that. I also think that Ruggs is a pretty polished route runner. He’s not just a deep ball guy.

Here is one thing we overlook a lot. Ruggs can catch and create yards after the catch! The Alabama receiver only had 5 drops on 103 catchable passes during his career. He also measured in with 10 1/8 inch hands which is a good number. Ruggs also averaged over 9 yards AFTER the catch. That’s the 2nd best mark in the draft class.

Keep in mind, the 2019 Alabama team will likely produce 4 first round picks from the wide receiver position. 40 receptions for 746 yards doesn’t look fantastic on the surface, but there were a lot of mouths to feed at Alabama. DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, and Ruggs. The lack of production or limited production isn’t a huge issue considering that factor.

To me, I see a lot of DeSean Jackson. Smaller receiver who just moved differently than everybody else in college. How valuable is that player? Jackson got drafted in the 2nd round. He’s been every bit worth that pick. John Ross went inside the top 10. That was a catastrophic mistake. Ruggs is a player I’d feel a lot better in the second round like DeSean Jackson. Especially given the fact that I think I can wait an extra round of two and get a 90 percent version of Ruggs with KJ Hamler.

Henry Ruggs III: Is he closer to Tyreek Hill or John Ross? When it comes to drafting, your throwing darts at maps. Let’s hope it lands closer to the Hill spectrum. It will be something to watch for years to come.

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