After a wildly disappointing rookie season, Henry Ruggs is certainly looking forward to a fresh start. Luckily for him, that fresh start is here in the form of the 2021 season. The Raiders selected Ruggs in the 1st round as the first receiver off the board in 2020, and have now made him WR1. While the move is certainly risky, Ruggs has all the talent to justify it. With training camp upon us, the time is now for Ruggs to begin work on the type of season that he and the Raiders know he is capable of having.
The most important aspect to Ruggs’ success in 2021 will be his relationship with quarterback Derek Carr. In 2020, Carr clearly developed a great relationship with the since-departed Nelson Agholor. While those two connected often for big plays and almost 900 yards receiving, it left little for the rookie Ruggs.
Of course, Ruggs will need to become a better player in 2021. Filling Agholor’s vacated production comes down to Ruggs developing trust with his quarterback. Carr values building trust, and he had a big say in bringing the Alabama product to Vegas. This relationship should blossom rather quickly.
A Different Attitude
The expectations for the 2021 season are not lost on Henry Ruggs either. With a 1st round pedigree, he knows he was brought in to be a game-changer for the offense.
When asked to describe his mentality coming into 2021, Ruggs said, “Ya know just come in aand play a bigger role, I have to play a vital role”. The most exciting part for the Raiders is that the second-year receiver sees himself as a leader in the locker room, saying, “Even with the veterans coming in, I still gotta take leadership in the room. I gotta lead the way for the guys.”
Not only does Ruggs appear more confident and motivated in year two, but he made it a point to get in better physical shape. Ruggs said that adding weight was his “main goal” in the offseason. He also said, “Just focusing on getting bigger. Eating all the time. Hammering it down in the weight room.” Raiders fans can rest assured however as the wideout said he did not lose any speed due to his added weight. If anything, he believes he got more explosive.
Ruggs said he put on 13 pounds during the offseason.
Improving upon his rookie season should be an easy feat for Ruggs, but the Raiders will ask him to do much more than that in 2021. The improved relationship with Carr and added weight all sound good in theory, but Ruggs will have to prove it on the field. Training camp will be the first chance to put it all to test and will be the start of what should be a coming-out party for the second-year pro.
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