Evaluating Ruggs and Tua In 2021

Henry Ruggs III and Tua Tagovailoa were early first round picks that underperformed in their rookie seasons. Ruggs played in 13 games with 26 catches for 452 yards and 2 TD.  Not exactly what was expected from the first receiver selected in the talented 2020 draft class.  We all know what other receivers in the class did in breaking into the league.  The Raiders receiving corps is centered around Tight End Darren Waller.  Ruggs will compete with John Brown, Bryan Edwards, Willie Snead, and Hunter Renfrow for targets.  Ruggs involvement in the passing game wasn’t as much as many expected.  The learning curve and running the route tree looked to be problems to this uneducated observer.  With a closer to normal offseason, it’s entirely possible Ruggs takes a step forward in Year 2.  

There are so many other proven commodities at the position reaching for Ruggs doesn’t make sense.  Another factor for me is the track record of personnel moves by Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden isn’t that impressive.  Because of that I’m not as high on a Ruggs breakout.  Yes, I do pay attention to the success rate of front offices in factoring my interest in a player. I would draft Ruggs this year with one of my late round lottery ticket selections.  WR5 or WR6 is where I would feel comfortable.

Moving to the other big name rookie that underperformed, Tua looked overmatched and overwhelmed as a rookie.  He was benched twice in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick in late game situations.  Tua played in 10 games and started 9, with a 6-3 record.  Justin Herbert, taken after Tua, looked like Dan Marino.  Yes, I went there. Miami’s surrounding talent helped lead Tua to victory more so than Tua leading the team to victory.  With a full offseason to focus on football instead of rehab, Tua could take a step forward in Year 2.  

Miami upgraded the skill positions adding Jaylen Waddle in the draft while Will Fuller and Malcolm Brown signed in free agency.  I believe Chris Grier and Brian Flores are doing a good job building their program from the ground up.  Because of my belief in their work, I would consider taking a gamble on Tua as my QB2 if I had an elite QB1.         

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