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Dynamic Henry Ruggs III could force Jets’ hand at NFL draft

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Dynamic Henry Ruggs III could force Jets’ hand at NFL draft

https://nypost.com/2020/03/28/dynamic-henry-ruggs-iii-could-force-jets-hand-at-nfl-draft/ 

If you’re wondering why Henry Ruggs III is fast climbing up NFL draft boards, listen to two of his old coaches.

Listen to Tyrone Rogers, Ruggs’ coach at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Ala.

“He plays bigger than what he is,” Rogers told The Post. “When I had him, he was only like 5-11, 6-foot, 165 pounds. … You can’t tell Henry that he’s not 6-4, 220.”

Listen to Maryland coach Michael Locksley, who was Ruggs’ wide receivers coach and assistant offensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama.

“He’s got a little of Steve Smith toughness, Hines Ward … to me, that type of mentality,” Locksley told The Post. “Receivers get high ankle sprains, and some of those guys are done for three, four games. He tapes it up and comes back in. He’s gonna play. He loves to play.”

So Henry Ruggs III is much more than another Tyreek Hill — with none of the accompanying baggage — much more than a former track star who blazed a 4.27 40 at the combine.

“He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Tyreek Hill,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah told The Post. “I would say he’s probably got better hands. The play speed is very comparable. Tyreek Hill may be a little bit stronger. I think Ruggs is more advanced as a receiver coming out, and obviously doesn’t come with any of the character issues that were there.”

Enlarge Image Henry Ruggs IIIAP

There are NFL teams that rate Ruggs higher than teammate Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.

“It would not shock me at all if he was the first one to go because he just changed the whole dynamic of your offense,” Jeremiah said.

Ruggs had only one dropped pass last season, had 25 career touchdowns on 100 touches and has a 42-inch vertical leap. Give him an inch on a slant and he’ll take a mile, and quickly.

“He just destroys pursuit angles like it’s ridiculous,” Jeremiah said.

“It was early in the season against one of the cupcakes they were playing,” Jeremiah said. “He blows by everybody, and the ball was severely underthrown, so while the corner is in a dead sprint trying to catch up, Ruggs has to face up the ball and catch it like a punt. He’s able to catch it flatfooted, turn around and still outrun the guy who was going full speed trying to catch up to him.”

Jeremiah has Lamb as his top receiver, but would understand if Jets GM Joe Douglas, with the 11th pick of the draft, opted for Ruggs, if an offensive tackle he prefers is not available.

“I think you could make a strong case that his speed would really open things up in that offense as well,” Jeremiah said.

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Ruggs, now 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, was a schoolboy senior when Locksley watched him live for the first time … on the basketball court. Alabama had already offered Ruggs.

“He’s got a basketball highlight of just ferocious dunks, just a tremendous explosive athlete,” Locksley said.

Then he got to coach him. They called Ruggs “Touchdown City” as a ’Bama freshman, after every one of his five catches over the first eight games were touchdowns. The best was yet to come.

“We ran an RPO [run-pass option] into the boundary, and the ball was high and behind, and he went up and snagged it one hand behind him,” Locksley recalled of a 2018 game against LSU. “He was running full speed one direction, reached back up in the air really high, again using his explosiveness, and made a huge, huge play.”

There was a 57-yard TD off a shuttle pass from Tua Tagovailoa in a beatdown of Texas A&M. Locksley was gone when Ruggs scorched the earth with a 75-yard TD on a bubble screen on the first play of the game last season against New Mexico State … over the speed limit at 23 mph.

Rogers first spotted Ruggs as a 140-pounder at McKee Middle School.

“Basketball’s always been his first love, so he didn’t want to play football his ninth-grade year,” Rogers recalled. “So we continued to kind of pull on him and nag at him to get him to try to come out there.”

Ruggs played one game as a freshman, but didn’t play football as a sophomore. Rogers, a former defensive lineman for the Browns, prevailed on him in the summer before Ruggs’ junior year not to close the door on football.

“Son, just put all your talent in one sport,” he said. “Sometimes that sport will pick you.”

The sport picked Ruggs, and Rogers soon picked the sport: a fade to the back of the end zone.

“The guy had good coverage on him, but Henry just outjumped him, what they call this day in time just ‘Moss’ed’ him,” Rogers said, referring to former NFL receiver Randy Moss, who could soar over defenders to catch the ball. “The kid didn’t have a chance.”

Most kids didn’t.

“Henry ended up making a one-handed catch over the left side of the sideline with his left hand, ’cause the [defender] was kind of pulling on his right arm, and was able to kind of kick out of the tackle and scamper for probably about 70 yards,” Rogers recalled.

Through it all, Ruggs triumphed over a tragedy that crushed his soul in the spring of his junior year — the death of his childhood friend and basketball teammate Rod Smith in a car accident on his way to the state tournament in Birmingham. Ruggs didn’t accompany Scott that fateful day because he had the flu.

“It was traumatic for everybody,” Rogers said.

The tragedy resonated with Locksley, whose 25-year-old son, Meiko, was shot and killed in Colombia, Md., on Sept. 3, 2017.

 

“Unfortunately, because of the tragedy I had when I was at Alabama losing my son,” Locksley said, “he was very sympathetic to it, and I did know his story and his relationship with Rod, from the first touchdown he ever caught when he put the 3 [fingers] in the air, and I kind of asked him what that signified, and that’s when he kind of explained to me that that was the jersey number that Rod wore.”

Ruggs will continue to carry his friend’s memory into the NFL. He wears a tattoo — “I will do something great I will be something great” — commemorating his friend on his lower right leg.

“I carry him with me all the time,” Ruggs told the Montgomery Advertiser.

What would Rogers tell NFL GMs about Henry Ruggs III?

“Ultimate competitor,” Rogers said. “You don’t have to worry about him off the field.”

What would Locksley tell NFL GMs about Henry Ruggs III?

“I think everybody knows the deep-play threat that he has,” Locksley said, “but what you typically see in receivers, and they get that tag as prima donnas — this guy is a workhorse, he plays injured, he plays through pain, he plays very physical without the football … student of the game, a guy that can play all the different positions, learns really well. Unlike most of the receivers that you see nowadays with the flamboyantness, he’s kind of your old-school, old-fashioned, let-his-game-do-his talking.”

A jet for the Jets, perhaps.

FILED UNDER HENRY RUGGS III  NEW YORK JETS  NFL DRAFT  NFL DRAFT 2020 
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21 minutes ago, Jets1958 said:

Injury prone. Stay away.

How so?

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 He's going to be a good player. We'll see how it all works out when Joe Douglas is done trading players for picks? As of right now the priorities are o-line, pass rusher, cornerback.

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CeeDee Lamb: 173 receptions, 3,292 receiving yards and 32 TD receptions. 

Jerry Jeudy: 159 receptions, 2,742 receiving yards and 26 TD receptions. 

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Henry Ruggs: 98 receptions, 1,716 receiving yards and 24 TD receptions. 

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Great. Just great. Pass up on both of Jeudy and Lamb followed by drafting the one who's been the very least productive out of the 3; no thank you. 

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5 hours ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

CeeDee Lamb: 173 receptions, 3,292 receiving yards and 32 TD receptions. 

Jerry Jeudy: 159 receptions, 2,742 receiving yards and 26 TD receptions. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Henry Ruggs: 98 receptions, 1,716 receiving yards and 24 TD receptions. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Great. Just great. Pass up on both of Jeudy and Lamb followed by drafting the one who's been the very least productive out of the 3; no thank you. 

Looks like we have another stat line evaluator here.  

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6 hours ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

CeeDee Lamb: 173 receptions, 3,292 receiving yards and 32 TD receptions. 

Jerry Jeudy: 159 receptions, 2,742 receiving yards and 26 TD receptions. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Henry Ruggs: 98 receptions, 1,716 receiving yards and 24 TD receptions. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Great. Just great. Pass up on both of Jeudy and Lamb followed by drafting the one who's been the very least productive out of the 3; no thank you. 

I remember this narrative last year with DK Metcalf. 

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Jeudy is a better and cleaner WR prospect. His route running is nearly flawless.

But Ruggs is clearer one of the most explosive players that’s been in the draft for a lone time. He makes big time plays and scored almost as many TD’s as Jeudy and Lamb in almost half the receptions.

Can’t go wrong with either.

I hope we trade for Trent or sign Peters and draft Jeudy or Ruggs.

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22 minutes ago, Adoni Beast said:

Jeudy is a better and cleaner WR prospect. His route running is nearly flawless.

But Ruggs is clearer one of the most explosive players that’s been in the draft for a lone time. He makes big time plays and scored almost as many TD’s as Jeudy and Lamb in almost half the receptions.

Can’t go wrong with either.

I hope we trade for Trent or sign Peters and draft Jeudy or Ruggs.

I could see a scenario where the jets draft a wr at 11, then sign peters right away so the OT they take on day 2 isn’t forced into action right away if he’s not ready.  

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What scares me is that people assume because Ruggs is faster than Jeudy that he will be the better WR.  

People who could care less that Perriman ran a 4.2 40 and a 4.1 40.  Perriman is a JAG.  Robby ran a 4.2, we didnt want to pay him.  

Ruggs running a 4.2 is the next Hill though.  Will be better than the guy who started ahead of him 

Because he ran his 40 in 0.12 of a second quicker.  

Routes, hands, getting seperation, everything else that makes up a WR is out the window?  Being a one trick WR sucked for Robby, not for Ruggs?  Is he Hill or Santana Moss?  Is this a classic case of overthinking 

 

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3 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

I could see a scenario where the jets draft a wr at 11, then sign peters right away so the OT they take on day 2 isn’t forced into action right away if he’s not ready.  

My fear is someone will sign him before us. It’s not like we’re a hot destination players are flocking to.

Trent Williams is such a great scheme fit. He would be perfect. But I don’t see him getting moved before the draft.

I’m usually against WR’s in the 1st round. But Jeudy, Ruggs, and to a Lamb are all so good. You don’t see these kind of receivers every draft, regardless if it’s a deep draft.

Trade for Trent, or Tyron Smith if he’s really available. Or Sign Peters, save the pick/$. 

Draft Jeudy or Ruggs, draft a tackle in round 2  for RT, draft another WR with one of our 3rds. 

 

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1 minute ago, Adoni Beast said:

My fear is someone will sign him before us. It’s not like we’re a hot destination players are flocking to.

Trent Williams is such a great scheme fit. He would be perfect. But I don’t see him getting moved before the draft.

I’m usually against WR’s in the 1st round. But Jeudy, Ruggs, and to a Lamb are all so good. You don’t see these kind of receivers every draft, regardless if it’s a deep draft.

Trade for Trent, or Tyron Smith if he’s really available. Or Sign Peters, save the pick/$. 

Draft Jeudy or Ruggs, draft a tackle in round 2  for RT, draft another WR with one of our 3rds. 

 

I agree.  The jets can transform their weapons and address OL as well.  If the jets take a wr in the first, i do see them trying to trade up in the 2nd if one of the next tier of OTs slips.  Getting a wr/jackson would be just ideal.

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5 minutes ago, Jet Nut said:

What scares me is that people assume because Ruggs is faster than Jeudy that he will be the better WR.  

People who could care less that Perriman ran a 4.2 40 and a 4.1 40.  Perriman is a JAG.  Robby ran a 4.2, we didnt want to pay him.  

Ruggs running a 4.2 is the next Hill though.  Will be better than the guy who started ahead of him 

Because he ran his 40 in 0.12 of a second quicker.  

Routes, hands everything else that makes up a WR is out the window?  Is this a classic case of overthinking 

 

Ruggs is closer to Tyreek Hill than John Ross.

Buy, I definitely agree with you Jeudy is a better overall receiver. But not by much.

Ruggs is more explosive and will make big plays. But his route running and hands are very good. He’s not just a track star.

I think its Jeudy - Ruggs - Lamb for the big 3.

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4 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

I agree.  The jets can transform their weapons and address OL as well.  If the jets take a wr in the first, i do see them trying to trade up in the 2nd if one of the next tier of OTs slips.  Getting a wr/jackson would be just ideal.

Peart seems to be dropping to the 3rd in a lot of mocks. I don’t see him making it out of round 2.

I think he someone we should be looking at for right tackle in the 2nd, if we go receiver in 1.

Then we need to grab another receiver in 3, who has a completely different skill set than the one we took in the first. Most likely a big bodied possession/red zone target.

Regardless of how much we all liked the sun God, even with Robbie our receiving core has been league bottom for years. 

It’s time for a major upgrade. 

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4 minutes ago, Adoni Beast said:

Ruggs is closer to Tyreek Hill than John Ross.

Buy, I definitely agree with you Jeudy is a better overall receiver. But not by much.

Ruggs is more explosive and will make big plays. But his route running and hands are very good. He’s not just a track star.

I think its Jeudy - Ruggs - Lamb for the big 3.

I get the appeal, understand why some people want Jeudy while others want Ruggs.  We all want Hill part 2 but do you pass up a Jeudy for a projection?  Tough call but I think you cant overthink the 11th pick.  

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3 minutes ago, SR24 said:

Ruggs in the 1st and Pittman in the 3rd would be awesome 

I like your style.

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Just now, Jet Nut said:

I get the appeal, understand why some people want Jeudy while others want Ruggs.  We all want Hill part 2 but do you pass up a Jeudy for a projection?  Tough call but I think you cant overthink the 11th pick.  

No I def go Jeudy before any of them. His route running is truly absurb, and it’s not like he’s slow lol.

Great hands...amazing routes...quick and smooth.

 

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11 minutes ago, Samtorobby47 said:

Don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. But Ruggs is way more then just speed. He can do it all. He doesn’t have the dropsies like Perriman did coming out either. 

Most didnt think Perriman would fail to develop though.  He was a 1st round pick by Ozzie remember.  

I love the thought of a T Hill on any offense but do I want to pass up on a M Thomas?

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Jeudy is a really good route runner. He really leveled off statistically. Build is weird, all legs, skinny.  Not a tackle breaker or a contested catch guy due to his lack of physical strength. Needs a lot to break right to be an elite #1 guy - the only similar one I can think of was Antonio Brown. His play speed is better than he tested and I could see him potentially eating things up across a field stretcher like Perriman - so maybe he’s a fit and they complement each other well. But he wins on the ground with routes, quickness, and speed - and that’s it. I worry about the lack of strength when coverage in the NFL will be tighter. Will see more contested stuff. I think he likely ends up Amari Cooper-ish which is fine.

Lamb is a tough eval. Bigger but not by much and he’s still skinny. Lots of clean breaks off the line in that offense. He’s got a unique burst and tested that way so tough to tell how much that’s him versus college athletes or that’s just who he is. Good adjusting to the ball in the air. Similar thoughts about him across from Perriman to Jeudy - wins in a different way but maybe can benefit from less attention due to Perriman’s field stretching abilities. He’s weird because he won as kind of a physically dominant Julio Jones type in college running away from and through guys but he’s not clearly going to be physically dominant in the NFL and so it’ll be interesting to see what translates. I’ve seen Hopkins comparisons too which are interesting since they’re more similar physically - Hopkins went in the 20’s. Not critical but read a rumor a while back he likes partying and may be better off landing in a smaller area - who knows if it’s true though.

Ruggs is absurdly fast and it’s not just timed speed. He ate against weaker teams. Those stacked offenses are tough to evaluate - Smith was better statistically than Ruggs and Jeudy. They’re where market share stats don’t tell the whole story - kind of like when LSU had Beckham and Landry. I like the idea of having multiple absolute burners - same idea as KC. Open things up vertically and horizontally. He’s a huge gamble though. No statistics to back it up and the fast guy profile rarely translates. Easy to see why teams keep doing it though. Upside seems huge. I also like that he seems down to earth, focused, plays through injuries, makes contested plays. But he’s a risk for sure.

I’m also curious - in a DEEP WR draft where you can make arguments for guys like Mims and Jefferson over the consensus top 3 and there are guys who are going to fall even to day three...we see none of the consensus top three are the Julio Jones, AJ Green, Calvin Johnson types and guys like Anderson didn’t have huge markets in FA. Do teams wait on WR knowing they can certainly get one later?

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They all look like amazing players to me. But, I still take Thomas if he's there. Or, if JD thinks another available OT is a better choice, OT over WR. If the OT's are gone I take Ruggs over Lamb or Jeudy.

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Wouldn't surprise me if the Jets went Ruggs.

"Speed creates pressure and pressure bursts pipes," Douglas told newyorkjets.com's Eric Allen at the NFL Scouting Combine. "When you have one guy that can run by you, you're worried. When you have three guys, that really puts teams in a bind. When you have that, you can have three-point shooters. You don't have to worry about the 12-, 15-play drives. You can throw in a couple one-, two- or three-play drives. Now you're cooking."

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33 minutes ago, Jet Nut said:

What scares me is that people assume because Ruggs is faster than Jeudy that he will be the better WR.  

People who could care less that Perriman ran a 4.2 40 and a 4.1 40.  Perriman is a JAG.  Robby ran a 4.2, we didnt want to pay him.  

Ruggs running a 4.2 is the next Hill though.  Will be better than the guy who started ahead of him 

Because he ran his 40 in 0.12 of a second quicker.  

Routes, hands, getting seperation, everything else that makes up a WR is out the window?  Being a one trick WR sucked for Robby, not for Ruggs?  Is he Hill or Santana Moss?  Is this a classic case of overthinking 

 

Robby ran a 4.31. And if you can't see the difference between Robby and Ruggs then I don't know what to tell you. 

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