Henry Ruggs III may break the 40-yard dash record, set a few years back by John Ross. The Alabama wide receiver has also shown toughness playing in the SEC, and is a proven winner. A popular pick by most in recent Eagles mock drafts, Ruggs is quickly becoming a fan favorite before even donning midnight green. We'll review all of the positives and negatives of his game in this profile, and determine if it would be wise for Howie Roseman to use his first-round selection on the speedster.
College Career Stats (2017 - 2019)
In 40 career games wearing Crimson red, Ruggs produced 98 receptions for 1,716 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also added two rushes for 75 yards and a rushing score.
Tale of the Tape
Remember a few years back when everyone wanted Usain Bolt to play football? Henry Ruggs looks as fast as Bolt. Ruggs has the speed to take a slant 75 yards to the house. Against the South Carolina defense, he did just that. Ruggs caught a ball at the 27-yard line and had defenders closing in. Using his acceleration, Ruggs raced through the secondary, kicked it into his second gear and coasted in for a 75-yard touchdown. By coast, I mean that there was not a defender within 10 yards of him when he crossed the goal line. There is no doubt the Eagles need speed on offense. DeSean Jackson is coming back, but for how long? It will serve the Eagles well bringing in Ruggs to learn from one of the greatest speed threats in NFL history, while contributing almost immediately.
You can tell that this guy played for Nick Saban by the toughness in his game. Atypical for a speedster, Henry Ruggs consistently displays his toughness on film. Alabama ran the ball a ton, and required their WR's to block on outside runs. Ruggs was not a guy who can move a corner downfield a few yards, but the effort was never questioned. Rarely do you see a wideout finish a play finishing off a defender. Ruggs will go for the extra yard or two while making a defensive back feel the tackle.
Hands and Body Control
Steve Sarkesian loves the RPO, and ran it to perfection with Tua and his band of speedy wideouts. The RPO consists of quick-hitting passes. To execute, wideouts need to be able to get their head around and snatch the football. Ruggs has shown consistently that he has the ability to snatch the football out of the air with his hands, rather than letting the ball get into his body. Another reason the Alabama RPO was so successful was due to RAC or YAC yardage by one Henry Ruggs. When he has the ball in his hands, Ruggs knows how to control his body, and makes effortless cuts; striding past defenders. It always appears that his entire body is in sync.
What part of the formation wasn't Ruggs lined up in? Alabama had Ruggs lined up in the slot, outside, in the backfield, and motioned him a lot. While averaging almost 19 yards per reception, Ruggs caught a number of swing passes out of the backfield. This enabled Alabama to stretch the field vertically as well as horizontally.
Struggles in Press Situations
While super speedy, Ruggs can be pressed at the line of scrimmage. If you recall, back in 2013 Desean Jackson was having a similar issue. This disrupted timing between receiver and QB, causing overall disruption for the offense. However, Ruggs has also shown great footwork to create separation at the line of scrimmage. It appears to be a developmental trait moving forward.
Not an Elite Route Runner
What appears to be another developmental trait, Ruggs does not have elite route running abilities. Meaning, he does not have the ability to run a full crisp route tree. On film, he ran a pivot route that ended up rounding a bit. Given his speed, he was able to still pull away from the defender for a first down.
What Are the Scouts/Experts Saying?
They see similar strengths in Ruggs' game: speed & agility, hands, body control, and RAC. These scouts also see similar weaknesses in his route running, and struggles against the press coverage.
Dane Brugler does a good job emphasizing Ruggs' toughness, for being labeled a speedster. He also highlights the obvious speed factor with Ruggs. He also mentions that Ruggs needs to do a better job at breaking tackles at the next level.
If by some miracle, Ruggs falls to 21, or even to 15 for a trade-up possibility, Howie should skip to the podium himself. Ruggs is one of those talents that only come around so often. There seems to be two of his type, speed and toughness, in the draft this year - Jalen Raegor and Ruggs. If the Eagles can land either two, fans will be thrilled.
This concludes our fourth draft vision profile. You can check out the previous three players we have profiled below: