Henry Ruggs III
2019 Vs: LSU, South Carolina, Auburn
Ruggs biggest strength is easily his elite speed. He showed this both on film and at the combine as he ran a 4.27 second forty-yard dash. He does a great job of using that speed to run past corners, making defenses use safety help against him. This also helps him pose as a threat both in the short passing game and as a ball carrier as he has the speed to run by defenders and turn short yardage plays into touchdowns. His positional versatility will also help him at the next level as he can be used both on the outside and in the slot. He also has impressive blocking ability which is a huge plus for wide receivers at any level.
One of the biggest things that Ruggs will have to show that he can do at the next level is getting off of jams in press coverage. He relied on his speed to make this a non issue in college but he will be facing faster and stronger corners in the league so he will have to show that he has the toughness to fight through it. Ruggs also doesn't have a crazy catch radius like some of the other receivers in this class which could hurt him in the red zone for jump ball situations. The last thing that he will have to prove, at least eventually, is that he can be a true WR1. Alabama had the luxury of having an abundance of talent at the position so it took some pressure off of him. At the pick range that he will likely be selected in, Ruggs will be expected to eventually be the go-to guy if not right away.
Henry Ruggs III is yet another talented wide receiver prospect coming out of Alabama. He found an immediate role as a freshman, finishing the season with 12 receptions for 229 yards and six touchdowns. He also served as a kickoff and punt returner, returning 13 kicks for 239 yards and eight punts for 46 yards. These numbers earned him recognition on the SEC All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore, he saw his role expand in Alabama's offense as he caught 46 passes for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his third and final season with the Crimson Tide, Ruggs continued to be a key part of their offense, finishing with 40 receptions for 746 yards and seven touchdowns. He also went back to his role as a kickoff returner, returning 12 kicks for 286 yards. In just three seasons at Alabama, he finished third on their all-time receiving touchdowns list with 24. As a pro, Ruggs is a very intriguing prospect and is in the top three of a very talented receiver class. He is a player that I see coming in and making an immediate impact as a WR2 at the very least, possibly a WR1 depending on the team that takes him. With his elite speed, Ruggs will establish himself early as an electric receiver that has the ability to get loose to put the ball in the end zone at any given moment. I believe that whoever picks him could easily be getting an eventual All-Pro level receiver.
Ruggs is very impressive as an athlete. Where he stands out is with his deep speed. He is a true burner that will simply run by corners in the deep passing game, which will call for safety help in a lot of cases. His explosion shows in his speed but also in his ability to run through tackles and when throwing blocks. He also has flexible hips which help him change direction smoothly in his routes. As far as quickness goes, he has more true speed than quickness but he still has a solid amount of quickness in his routes.
Route Tree Variety
Big Play Ability
As a route runner, Ruggs is smooth in his breaks and does a great job of changing speed in his routes which allows him to create separation from defensive backs. Off the line of scrimmage, he has solid quickness at the beginning of his routes. He wasn't jammed a lot in the film I saw but he has the speed to get past corners before they get their hands on him. However, he did have moments where more physical defensive backs were able to knock him off his routes. I liked what I saw from Ruggs as a blocker as he does a great job of getting extended on defenders and isn't afraid to get physical.
High Points Ball
One thing that stuck out on film is that Ruggs has very reliable hands. He does a great job of looking the ball in and truly catches the ball with his hands. I love his ability in space as he has the elite speed to take a slant or any other short pass to the end zone. As a ball carrier, Ruggs uses his speed to run through arm tackles and has shown the toughness to break tackles and fall forward for extra yards. His ball security isn't terrible by any means but he could work on it as he did let the ball hit the turf a few times in college.
Run After Catch
Ruggs is tougher than I thought he would be before I watched his film. He isn't afraid to get physical as a blocker and showed that he is willing to catch passes across the middle in traffic. From a production standpoint, he had solid numbers but was never the true WR1 at Alabama due to a very talented receiver core. I also liked the effort that he played with as he always seemed to play with a high motor and do whatever was asked of him.
Something that will help Ruggs a lot at the next level is his position versatility. He was productive both in the slot and on the outside in college. They also used him as a ball carrier on jet sweeps and as a returner on special teams. He showed good instincts as far as when to come off his route to try to get open when the quarterback was in trouble. He also showed that he knows when to stop running his route and become a blocker for his teammates. Ruggs is also a player that you won't see make the same mistake twice very often as he learned from his bad plays and came back even harder the next play.