Alabama in the Pros

Henry Ruggs’ speed has Raiders off to a hot start in 2021 NFL season

Henry Ruggs with a 61-yard TD catch for Raiders versus Steelers
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden took Henry Ruggs III at No. 12 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he is starting to understand how to incorporate the talented wide receiver in the Raiders’ offense.

Ruggs, a native of Montgomery, Ala., trained all offseason to improve his production from his rookie season.

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After a successful career at the University of Alabama, he wants to continue greatness in the pros. The chemistry between him and quarterback Derek Carr is now in sync.

Las Vegas won its season opener at home versus the Baltimore Ravens, but Ruggs was instrumental in Sunday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite having to travel across the country, Ruggs’ hands, speed, routes, and explosiveness were on display at Heinz Field. Najee Harris recorded his first career touchdown reception for the Steelers; however, the matchup belonged to Ruggs.

He totaled five catches for 113 receiving yards, including a 61-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. As a former high school track athlete, Ruggs got behind the Steelers’ defensive secondary and caught a bomb from Carr. He posted three catches for first downs, and the touchdown reception gave the Raiders a 23-14 lead.

The impressive part of Ruggs’ touchdown was that he caught it against Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Ruggs pushed Las Vegas to a 26-17 victory with his second career 100-yard performance.

His first outing where he went over the century mark in receiving happened last year against Kansas City. Ruggs had two catches for 118 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown.

His efforts assisted Las Vegas to a 40-32 victory over the Chiefs. Some expect Ruggs to have a breakout season, and his game versus the Steelers is a good start.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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