Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs III reminds Mark Davis of Cliff Branch
The Las Vegas Raiders are hoping to start fresh in their new city with the team finally getting a brand new arena, Allegiant Stadium, and an influx of young talent. The one player that will be the focal point of attention in Las Vegas next season will be rookie wide receiver, Henry Ruggs III.
The 2020 NFL Draft was full of talented wideouts with Ruggs being among the top-tier players in that category. He’s expected to be one of Derek Carr’s favorite targets in the passing game and already has team owner Mark Davis excited as he sees comparison to Raiders legend, Cliff Branch, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
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“Henry Ruggs was the player I wanted for the last six months,” Davis said. “My dad was always trying to replace Cliff with so many different types of guys. … Speed, speed, speed and we really got away from that the last five, six, seven years. We really didn’t have anybody that could run. Nobody could run.
“I watched Henry Ruggs and his speed and quickness and his strength were pretty impressive. And then if you see his baseball highlights, my God. He made some nice tackles on interceptions and he’ll block too. He is a complete player. I was just so thrilled that we drafted him. Maybe that’s the piece that we haven’t had that’s Raiders football. You throw it deep the first play and the safety is worried the whole game.”
The Raiders have been looking for a go-to receiver ever since they traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys. They simple haven’t been able to replace that production and that has been the goal for Jon Gruden and company during the NFL offseason. Ruggs could be the answer if he can live up to the hype.
It will also be a make-or-break season for Carr, who could be on his way out if unable to help turn things around under Gruden. There have been plenty of rumors since the arrival of Gruden that the team could be looking for a better option at quarterback and may go in that direction if Carr can’t take advantage of the talent he’ll have at wideout this year.