One of the fastest players in the draft and one of the best wide receivers in Alabama history, how does Henry Ruggs III fit with the Philadelphia Eagles? The question remains: with so many talented WRs in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, will Henry Ruggs III fall far enough so that the Eagles can grab him? Let’s take a look.
Howie Roseman spoke about needing to add youth and speed on the Philadelphia Eagles recently. Henry Ruggs III would be a great step one for Carson Wentz and the offense.
Henry Ruggs III Fun Facts
- Broke the Class 7A 100-meter dash record with a 10.58 in the state championship
- NFL scouts timed Ruggs, in the 4.25 range in the 40-yard dash during his junior pro day
- 24th in the NCAA last season at 18.6 yards per reception
- Ranks third on Alabama’s career touchdown receptions list with 24, just one behind Jerry Jeudy
- Owns the team-long rush (75 yards) and the second-longest reception (81 yards) for the Crimson Tide in 2019
- 26 of his 40 receptions went for a first down or touchdown for Alabama this season
15th – CBS Sports
12th – The Athletic
15th – The Draft Network
21st – Sporting News
19th – Sports Naut
22nd – Walter Football
The next Desean Jackson or another John Ross clone?
When I watch the tape of Henry Ruggs III, the first player that immediately comes to mind is John Ross III. Not in the way of comparing them as prospects, but more-so draft projection. With world class speed, it’s no shock that Henry Ruggs III is projected to go in the first round. John Ross III broke Chris Johnson’s 4.24 record time in the 40-yard dash. You should also expect Ruggs to put up some incredible combine numbers along with significant amount of buzz heading into the draft.
John Ross’ combine performance got him into the top 10 (9th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. Could we be seeing the same story take place in 2020? Could Henry Ruggs beat John Ross’ record 40-time? Don’t get frightened if you’re worried about John Ross’ production in the NFL. Ruggs has the hands, blocking, and leadership qualities that Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are looking for.
What would Henry Ruggs III bring to the Philadelphia Eagles?
Regardless of position, it’s no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles need speed across the board. The Eagles need playmakers at the wide receiver position. Well guess what? Henry Ruggs III brings greasy, fast speed that would be a welcome addition to the Eagles’ receiving corp. Having a speedster like Henry Ruggs to be mentored under Desean Jackson next season would be incredible. If you want to see how fast this guy is, check out the tweet below.
Here is another example of Ruggs’ world class speed:
And one more for good measure…
However, Henry Ruggs is not your prototypical burner receiver. Ruggs also excels at catching the ball through contact and plays bigger than his 190 pound frame. Despite his smallish frame (6’0″), Ruggs also has a great catch radius that would make him an ideal fit next to Carson Wentz. With Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery likely playing their last games in Philly, drafting an elite playmaker like Ruggs is quite simply a no-brainer.
Why Henry Ruggs III would be a perfect fit for the Eagles
There were rumors a few months ago that Howie Roseman was taking a hard, long look at trading for Robby Anderson, one of the better deep ball threats in the NFL. Robby Anderson remains an option this offseason, but I’m also not opposed to signing Anderson AND drafting Ruggs in the first round. Anderson and Ruggs on the outside with JJAW in the slot could be something very special.
The Eagles desperately missed Desean Jackson’s presence this season. Although he’ll be back in 2020, Howie and the Birds not only need to assess this offseason but also 2020 and beyond. While Ruggs might not be the best receiver in the draft (Lamb and Jeudy are better), he may the most important to the Eagles. Having a dominant speed receiver that stretches the field vertically adds an entire new dimension to the offense. Most notably, the field would open up for one Miles Sanders in his second season.
Wentz’s elite arm strength and Ruggs’ big play ability are a match made in heaven. The question is: would you trade up for Ruggs? With 10 draft picks and so many holes on the Eagles’ roster, I can see both arguments being made for a trade. The Eagles’ defense has major needs at cornerback and defensive end. With two 3rd round picks and three 4th round picks, Howie should have the ammo he needs to move up five slots if available.
What are some areas Henry Ruggs III needs to strengthen?
Ruggs needs to work on his route running and become more physical on the line. It’s not surprising that Ruggs beat college defensive backs primarily on his speed alone. Ruggs doesn’t yet have the finesse or ability to create separation on the line. While he plays bigger than his listed height and weight, he will have a difficult time against some of the top press corners in the NFL.
No one should be concerned about Ruggs’ production at Alabama. Playing behind guys like Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith, and Calvin Ridley at wide receiver, it’s understandable why Ruggs never topped 1,000 yards in a season. Does Ruggs project as a #1 wide receiver in the NFL? That is also a major question mark for Ruggs moving forward.
Expectations for 2020
I expect Henry Ruggs III to be an immediate matchup nightmare the second he plays his first NFL snap. Desean Jackson had 912 yards and 15 yards per catch during his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Playing alongside Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert, and Desean Jackson, there would be ample opportunities for Ruggs to get behind defensive backs in 2020. This is a very special prospect. The Eagles need playmakers, and it would be criminal for a talent like this to not play with Carson Wentz next season.