*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*WR-B stands for "Big-WR," a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy-red-zone-threat-type WRs. Our WR-S/"Small-WRs" are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession-type WRs who are typically less physical and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep...they are not used as weapons in the red zone as much. 


It’s hard to separate the noise and the hype here. We are going to have Ruggs’ 40-time/speed beaten into us on a daily basis right up to and through the NFL Draft…and then it will be slowly forgotten as the months clock by and we move on to hyping next year’s ‘fast guy’. The entire NFL Combine coverage on Day 1 was about whether Ruggs would beat John Ross for the fastest 40-time ever at the Combine, and no one ever said (on TV) – why are we so wrapped up in comparing Ruggs to John Ross, considering Ross has pretty much sucked in the NFL?

As the wide receivers lined up to run their 40-times in 2020, the conversation was only a countdown to when Ruggs (an ‘R’ in alphabetical order…so, it was a while) was going to run and how fast he was going to run – a complete disservice to all the other talented wide receivers running/working and a complete dismissal of how poorly 40-time has related to actual ‘performance’ in the NFL.

Once Ruggs hit an impressive 4.27 40-time, the graphic was quickly flashed onto the screen as to where Ruggs ranked all-time…and you saw the names – Jacoby Ford, John Ross, J.J. Nelson, Jerome Mathis, Marquise Goodwin, and you quickly realized…all these receivers flopped in the NFL, for the most part. None ever were ‘really good’ or ‘difference makers’ for long. Goodwin had a nice stretch for a year or two, but injuries wiped him out. Ross has been injured a bunch. Ford showed a little promise but couldn’t hang physically. These track star WR prospects…the profile is not a great one for the NFL Draft.

…but we’re all so sure THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT with Henry Ruggs.


No one can tell you ‘why?’, except ‘he’s really fast’. Well, so were all the other 4.2+ guys from the past. They all failed and/or underperformed. Really, all Ruggs’ scouting hype basically comes down to ‘fast’ PLUS ‘he went to Alabama’.

Had Ruggs been as ‘meh’, statistically, as he was in his college career but then run a 4.27 40-time at the Combine, coming out of the university of Kansas or Arkansas – he would never ever sniff the first round or be considered by experts a top NFL prospect. But playing for Alabama…that’s the magical special sauce for scouts. It’s pathetic…but it’s been true in this business for my 10+ years.

In reality, Henry Ruggs is bit like Mecole Hardman for pre-draft purposes…only Ruggs played at Alabama. Hardman was a ‘meh’/good performer in college, similar numbers to Ruggs their final season, and Hardman was really fast too (4.33) – and all that got him a late 2nd-round draft pick status in 2019. Yet somehow, Ruggs, with similar backgrounds/data/metrics to Hardman, is perceived as top of the WR class potential. The power of ‘Alabama’.

With that, you probably think this is my setup to torpedo another iconic media-driven/lazy scout driven WR prospect. Some of that is true, but actually I’m going to make a little case on how this actually MIGHT be different. It’s likely going to be the same problem translating to the NFL as all the other track-fast, track bodied/injury prone receivers that run like lightning who came before him, but there’s a flicker of hope that Ruggs might be a step above.

Anyone can watch Ruggs’ tape and see the difference making speed. He takes simple crossing/slant passes over the middle and steps on the accelerator and is gone. That attribute alone is worth top 60 overall consideration. In a league of the fastest humans on the planet…Ruggs is faster than most all of them, and that’s a gift rare few/any from this WR class could offer. I don’t want to undersell the value and importance of true difference making speed.

But, to checkmate that…the Kryptonite for all these types of guys – let’s assume Ruggs shares with them the same elevated risk of injury, due to their frame and temperamental bodies. A+ speed, D- injury risk…it’s something we can all agree upon.

But can Ruggs play wide receiver effectively at the next level…better than all the other speedster flops of the past? This is where I think Ruggs has a little bit over a John Ross or Mecole Hardman…what I see in Ruggs, to my surprise, is a tougher, better version of the Ross-Hardman types. I thought Hardman was a pretty flimsy/limited (but fast) receiver talent in college, and he didn’t change my mind his rookie NFL season. He doesn’t have to be DeAndre Hopkins…if he can take a bubble screen and turn it into a 50+ yard TD regularly. Hardman can do that but I think he is not a great ‘hands’ guy and is not a great route runner/get open guy and make tough catches guy – you get bubbles and bombs, and that’s not a bad thing, it’s just not a revolutionary thing…or top of the draft board thing.

However, with Ruggs I saw some real wide receiver activity that prior to deeper tape study I presumed wasn’t there. The more I watched Ruggs, the more impressed I became. Not over the moon impressed but impressed. Ruggs is a lot tougher a player than his 4.2+ running cohorts. I see Ruggs taking passes into traffic/over the middle where most guys like him want no part of. When Ruggs has the ball and defenders nearby or closing in, he’ll occasionally lower his shoulder or race into contact…again, not normal for his style WR typically. I also see Ruggs committed to blocking when it’s called for and he does a decent job of it.

You buy Ruggs for his world class speed to use as a weapon or decoy, but that’s worth only so much…has the Bengals passing game/offense really changed to greatness because of John Ross? Ruggs is a nice tool to have in the tool belt. Is he a transformational wide receiver? No. Does he have value for the NFL? Absolutely. How much value? That’s in the eye of the beholder.

Would you rather have Deebo SamuelDiontae Johnson or Mecole Hardman from the 2019 NFL Draft? You want Deebo if you’re looking for a tough interior receiver who is like a tailback playing wide receiver…Ruggs cannot do this. You want Diontae Johnson if you want a next Antonio Brown who dominates via a supernatural ability to get open and evade people – Diontae tests way slower than Ruggs, but Diontae is faster, more effective on the field…he was in college and will be in the pros. You want Mecole Hardman if you’re otherwise set at receiver but want to add a unique component to open up the field more, give another option…like Hardman or Marquise Goodwin or Brandin Cooks. Ruggs is more like Hardman than Diontae or Deebo.

Is a top 30 draft pick worth a Hardman, Goodwin, Cooks type today? Not in my book. There are plenty of guys with extreme speed and even more that are quick enough but are excellent technicians and/or have major size/power at the position. Ruggs has a gift, but it’s not as your team’s #1 WR or main weapon or redefining the game like a Tyreek Hill-type speedster. Ruggs is a nice asset to have, but not worth the high draft pick and the ‘Alabama’ draft tax on top of it.


Henry Ruggs III, Through the Lens of Our WR Scouting Algorithm:

I watched Ruggs play with Tua and with Matt Jones (after the Tua injury), and I had two main thoughts/notes…

(1) The QBs weren’t desperately trying to get Ruggs the ball…he seemed like the 3rd-4th option most plays (and I remember noting this with Hardman at Georgia as well). Ruggs wasn’t super important to his own QBs who know him best, when they had other legit options at WR. Ruggs was never ‘the guy’. 

(2) Ruggs was open quite a bit and if the QBs had looked in his direction more, Ruggs could have had bigger numbers. I do NOT recall thinking that with Hardman last scouting year. 

So, when I see Ruggs’ totals/output from college as ‘meh’…I’m worried, but I’m also thinking opportunity was lost and it wasn’t his fault. Alabama has an all-star WR group – four deep. They couldn’t all get the ball every play/series. Ruggs was the more complicated throw for them because he was usually going deep. 

Ruggs did not have a 100+ yard game in his last eight college games. He only had two 100+ yard receiving games in his last 17 college games. Three 100+ games in his last 21 college games. Point being – Ruggs did not dominate or light up the world in college. He was just really fast and made some really big plays in his career, but most of his plays he was just running the play and not involved.

Against LSU and his bowl game (Michigan) in 2019, and in his three major games in 2018 (SEC playoffs and then two CFB playoff games), Ruggs’ average output in those five games was -- 3.0 rec., 38.4 yards, and 0.40 TDs per game…playing most of those games with supposedly the greatest QB ever. Why will a team spend a top 25 pick on this? 

Ruggs played in 40 games in his college career…

 -- He caught five or more passes in a game just 5 times. 

 -- He had 100+ yards receiving in a game four times (against Louisiana, Citadel, So. Carolina, So. Miss…not the monsters of college football). 

 -- He returned 25 kicks and 8 punts in his career…no TDs.

 -- He ran the ball twice his entire career…once for zero yards, the other a 75-yard TD run…against New Mexico State. 

You don’t get a ton of output from Ruggs’ college career, and when he did pop – it was usually against weaker out of conference opponents. 

2020 NFL Combine Measurables…

5’11”/188, 30 5/8” arms, 10 1/8” hands

4.27 40-time, DNP agility times

42.0” vertical, 10’11” broad jump, DNP bench press

The Historical WR Prospects to Whom Henry Ruggs III Most Compares Within Our System:

Ruggs is identical in a lot of ways to John Ross and Mecole Hardman, except Ross was way more productive a receiver in college (with a worse offense/QB) and Ross and Hardman were return game threats/producers…while Ruggs was not. 

WR Score

Draft Yr







Power Strngth Metric

Speed Agility Metric

Hands Metric



Ruggs III



































Miami, Fla











Ab Christian





























*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Small-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of a Small-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Small-WR.

All of the WR ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced. Mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, rated historically in our database.

“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical-size profiling, bench press strength, etc.  High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.

“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/create separation.

“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance, and overall this projects the combination of performance and physical data for the next level.

2020 NFL Draft Outlook:

The NFL loves big armed QBs and super-fast WRs, and no matter how many times that bias burns them – they fall back into the same well even harder the next go ‘round. So, I have NO doubt Ruggs will be a 1st-round pick…and I wouldn’t be shocked if he were the 1st WR taken – although I’d guess he’ll be the 2nd or 3rd WR taken.

If I were an NFL GM, I would have no interest in selecting him for the price I’d have to pay. The type of player I could get instead of spending a #15-20-25 pick on Ruggs is how he should be valued or devalued.

NFL Outlook:   

You have to bet Ruggs ends up more like John Ross, Marquise Goodwin, Mecole Hardman – decent WRs, not great, and will have a few cool/super-fast plays to get excited about but in the end there is no real consistency/dominance as nagging injuries are a drag their entire career. It just seems to be the way it goes for these types of receivers. I hope, for Ruggs’ sake, not…but the smart money would say he’s more like his WR comps than he is different.