Henry Ruggs III to the Las Vegas Raiders always felt like a possibility and with the No. 12 overall pick, General Manager Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden made it a reality.
When Mayock and Gruden made the selection, it felt like former Raiders Owner Al Davis was smiling down upon them from the heavens, nodding in approval.
"The coaches are fired up," Mayock told reporters after the draft. "The scouts are fired up and trust me [Owner] Mr. [Mark] Davis, when we took the fastest wideout in the draft, Mr. Davis said that his father was looking down and smiling."
The NFL legend was known for his infatuation with speed and the Silver and Black have had some historically fast players take the field, most notably Cliff Branch — who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
When the Raiders drafted Branch in 1972 there was no such thing as the NFL Scouting Combine, but I'd like to imagine he'd register at least a 4.35 40-yard dash time. While Branch isn't the only speedster to be drafted by the team, the first pick by the Las Vegas Raiders is a certified burner.
Statistically, Ruggs didn't blow people away during his three seasons at the University of Alabama — even though he put up decent numbers — but his speed left opposing defenders in a whirlwind. All throughout the evaluation process, the Raiders stayed in constant communication with the dynamic playmaker, and indicated there was a good chance they'd pick him if he was available.
"I definitely did," Ruggs said when asked if he knew the Raiders were going to pick him. "They had a lot of interest. I talked to [Head] Coach [Jon Gruden] and they had expressed a lot."
As Gruden continued to praise the speedster and offer him positive words, Ruggs former teammate at the University of Alabama, Josh Jacobs, provided a similar sentiment.
"He was telling me to be ready," Ruggs said about Jacobs. "You never know what is going to happen. When I was talking to him, he said, 'Be ready for anything. Whenever you get to wherever you're going, just do your thing. You got it.' He knew that I was ready, so that was pretty much it."
Not only is it exciting that the former teammates will be reunited, but the two will greatly benefit from each other's services going forward. Ruggs speed is something you can't teach and defensive backs are going to have a tough time keeping up with him. If he's able to get loose and wiggle his way into the third level of the defense, defensive coordinators won't be able to load the box against Jacobs.
After he was officially drafted, Josh called Ruggs to congratulate him.
"[Josh] just called me," Ruggs said during a video on social media. "I keep telling y'all we're going to do something big. It's coming."
I'm sure Jon Gruden knew that Ruggs was going to be a Raider from the first moment he watched his film, and he knew that Al Davis would be grinning sheepishly from above. Las Vegas has a new disappearing act and his name is Henry Ruggs III, and he was born to wear the Silver and Black.
With the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.