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Hometown Hot Takes: NFL Draft reactions and analysis of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III

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Speed kills.

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Once he ran a 4.22, it was destiny that Ruggs would be a Raider.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

John Elway and Co. found their much-coveted Tall White Immobile Quarterback of the Future (tm)...finally. And Mizzou’s Drew Lock gets that call. Though Courtland Sutton had a decent year, the most dependable target on the roster last season was rookie TE Noah Fant (who is awesome, in some fairness.) So, at the top of this year’s draft wishlist was finding Lock some targets. The Broncos’s No. 1 the entire time was Jerry Jeudy. It was believed the Broncos may have to trade up, but after a few unexpected picks (including teammate Henry Ruggs III going to the divisional rival Raiders), Jeudy fell right into their laps.

The Denver Broncos always had their eyes on Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. They just didn’t know if they’d be able to land him with pick No. 15 in the 2020 NFL Draft.

After some surprise picks in front of them, it happened, as Jeudy fell into the Broncos and John Elway’s lap after a minor slide in the first round.

John even sounds like a bland NFL GM praising this year’s best wideout:

“I felt that offensively, for us to be able to compete and give Drew a chance to be successful and us to be successful on the offensive side ... we had to get some speed and we had to get some talent on that offensive side and some explosiveness on the offensive side,” general manager John Elway said, per the team’s website. “That’s why we decided to go that way. We played good defense last year and we’ll continue to play good defense this coming year, but we had to pick things up on the offensive side [with] that explosiveness and speed factor.”

The biggest beneficiary, of course, will be second-year QB Drew Lock.

The Denver Broncos needed playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. The Denver Broncos got playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.

With their first-round pick, the team decided to do what basically everybody expected them to: they took a wide receiver. The only question was which receiver they would take. With Henry Ruggs III off the board, they opted to take Ruggs’ teammate at Alabama, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. And it was the one Elway wanted all along.

Lock, who faced Jeudy in college, had little to say initially (besides a slyly winking emoji). Then, after he composed himself, Lock fired off a video that was posted on the team’s website.

“Jerry Jeudy, baby, let’s go!” Lock said in a video posted on the team’s official Twitter page on Thursday. “Man, as a fellow SEC guy, I’ve watched him make plays for years. I’m just happy you’re on my team, man.

“I’m just happy you’re on my team now. We got something special rolling in Denver.”

Future teammates on the other side of the ball, including Von Miller and Alabama’s Kareem Jackson were elated too.

I think Denver beat reporter Ryan Koenigsberg summed up best what we were all thinking:

The Mile High Report concurs:

He was the fifth best player on my board and the top receiver. His ability to separate is the best I’ve ever seen in a college receiver and it’s a trait that is critically important in the Pat Shurmur offense. Additionally, Jeudy’s ability to play both in the slot and on the boundary frees up his play caller to mix and match personnel around him.

Lastly, not only do the Broncos get a world-class receiver, they also get a deep thinker. Jeudy had much to say about Big Bird, as a bored teenager seven years ago. (Seriously, read those.)

Man, I don’t want to say name in a disrespectful way, but Jeudy looks a lot like Jerry Rice with his ability to get separation and once he is in the open field. JJ4 is plenty fast, but with his ability to shake a defender during the route, and his moves once the ball in his hands, it gives him a far better game speed than even track stars that have been drafted recently (looking at you, John Ross.)

Poll

Grade the pick — Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    We need another grade above A
    (312 votes)
  • 29%
    A
    (135 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    C/D/F — I’m a troll
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Incomplete
    (3 votes)
462 votes total Vote Now

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

(Man, I hate typing Las Vegas Raiders, so we’re just going to call them the Raiders until Mark Davis screws this up moves back to the Bay area in 6 or 7 years. Deal?)

For weeks, the scuttlebutt in draft circles was that Henry Ruggs III was a very fast riser among a lot of NFL GMs. There was even rumor that after HR3’s Combine-busting 4.22 in the forty-yard dash, that Ruggs might be the first receiver off the board. The Metrics crowd especially loved him.

Turns out, it wasn’t just a rumor; nor was it his athleticism and productivity. And Ruggs probably has the coaching staff to thank for that.

“One little nugget I can give you guys. I’ve heard the Alabama coaches have actually spoken higher of him than they have of Jerry Jeudy. Just something to file away for teams who have got connections to that staff.”

And, hey, that Raiders speed thing is not only a meme at this point, but is a perverse point of pride in ‘Vegas.

Go deep and just win, baby. Or something like that.

Derek Carr, not ordinarily known for taking vertical shots, is now being enticed to do so. He apparently couldn’t even text in complete sentences:

He was fired up after the Ruggs pick and then there were a bunch if emojis I couldn’t make out.

Unknown to most, Ruggs is also close friends with Raiders star running back, Josh Jacobs.

There was a bit of conflict between Mayock and Gruden over the first wideout to take with all three/four on the board.

The Raiders were then laser-focused on a receiver, with the cream of the draft class all there: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. The general consensus was Lamb and Jeudy were the top choices and Ruggs was the third best receiver on the board.

In the end, it didn’t matter that all three receivers were on the board. Jon Gruden got his guy. Clearly, Ruggs was his top pick.

NBCSports’ Peter King reported this week that Lamb was the favorite of Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock, but Gruden preferred Ruggs.

There you go. This is another reminder that Gruden runs the Raiders. He wanted a speed guy and that is Ruggs. The dude flies with 4.27 speed.

Lamb was defensible, of course. While not as fast as Ruggs, Lamb excels at the thing that has been the greatest knock on Ruggs game: fighting for contested balls. Ruggs will have to improve on those 50-50 balls to be a true WR1.

But, that may not be an issue. In Gruden’s West Coast there isn’t as great a need for a game-breaking true WR1. And, since Chucky has emphasized getting a lot faster overall, Ruggs’ skills were a better fit with Vegas’ strategic vision...and a better fit for a roster that already includes Josh Jacobs, breakout TE Darren Waller, and sure-handed slot-man/uber-cheater Hunter Renfrow (still hate you, dude.)

Poll

Grade the Pick — Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    A
    (319 votes)
  • 17%
    B
    (70 votes)
  • 2%
    C/D/F/I’m a troll
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    Incomplete
    (3 votes)
404 votes total Vote Now