Second-year wide receiver is expected to be Raiders’ X-Factor
I’ve enjoyed doing these recent 2021 Las Vegas Raiders’ projection polls. We have been getting some interesting and surprising results.
Our recent poll asking you to let us know your 2021 Raiders’ X-Factor is another example.
In a landslide, the winning choice was Raiders’ second-year wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. The No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft received 39 percent of the vote. There were nine candidates, representing both sides of the ball.
The second-leading vote getter was free-agent addition running back Kenyan Drake. He received 19 percent of the vote. I thought the leading candidates would be new starting center Andre James or free-agent addition cornerback Casey Hayward. Yet, James received 13 percent of the vote and Hayward only got 10 percent.
No one, though, could challenge Ruggs in this X-Factor race.
There is certainly pressure on the Alabama product to produce much more than he did as a rookie. Ruggs had just 26 catches in1 3 games and was hardly a part of Jon Gruden’s game plan most weeks.
It is up to Ruggs to prove to the Las Vegas coaching staff that he deserves more opportunities and the speed demon can offer more than just being a decoy.
Expectations are high in the organization and, clearly, in the fan base as well.