Drafting a rookie receiver is often a crapshoot that can (and usually will) end in disappointment. Unless you end up with a complete outlier like Justin Jefferson, you’re probably going to end up overpaying if there’s any type of hype around them.

This was a mistake I made last year With Henry Ruggs (and not just because I’m a Raiders homer although that didn’t help). Ruggs was drafted 12th overall in 2020 NFL draft before Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, and every other wide receiver in a stacked class.

While the pick surprised a lot of people, the pedigree was undeniable with the highest yard-per-reception average of any Alabama receiver in 2019 with 18.7 and running a burning 4.27 40-yard at the combine (tied for 6th fastest all-time). Ruggs is a pick that Al Davis was surely smiling down on, the fastest guy in the draft by a mile. 

The problem in-season for Ruggs came down to injuries and a lack of chemistry with Derek Carr, Darren Waller, and Nelson Agholor taking up a majority of the receiving targets.

As far as we know, Ruggs is now fully healthy off of his knee/hamstring injury that plagued him last year and Agholor is off to New England to try to make Cam Newton look like he remembers how to throw a football, leaving a vacuum of targets that have Ruggs written all over them. 

Gruden and Carr have gone out of their way at every step of the off-season to hype up Ruggs and are going to target him to justify that high draft pick. Small sample size but Ruggs was able to turn the limited targets of 2020 into some major plays, averaging 17.4 yard-per-reception.

That’s pretty freaking good, especially with a banged-up hammy.

Being drafted far after fellow sophomores Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb, Ruggs can be a huge value and has real WR1 potential in around the 12th/13th round in standard drafts compared to his 9th round ADP his rookie year.

That’s a nice bit of upside in a pretty high-powered offense all things considered, especially compared to his ex-classmate Jeudy who’s going to be stuck with either lame-duck Teddy Bridgewater or future insurance salesman Drew Lock. Say what you will about Carr but he’s definitely better than those bums (He might even be better than Jameis…). 

That brings us to another sophomore Vegas receiver who is getting a ton of hype from the fantasy community, Bryan Edwards.

Edwards has some of the biggest expectations that are being laid onto him of any sophomore, 3rd round draft pick who barely had playing time I can think of with Carr saying “You know what, it reminds me a lot of Davante [Adams] when he first came into college. He was redshirting, but I wanted to throw him every pass,” and Gruden comparing him to Terrell Owens.

Is that probably a bunch of bologne? Yeah, it’s likely but at the same time, Bryan Edwards proved himself as a playmaker at South Carolina and made some ridiculously acrobatic catches

How many receivers going around the 23rd round or going undrafted are being compared to Davante Adams and Terrell Owens? He has a pretty smooth path to a decent target share with Ruggs and Waller opening up the field and at the most conservative is going to be a solid waiver add. 

If you can target him in the final round of your drafts instead of like… I don’t know, Quintez Cephus why wouldn’t you? 

The Raiders are looking to have the potential for a pretty mean-looking offense and, as much as it pains me to say it, their defense is probably going to still suck nuts. They’re likely going to be playing from behind and Ruggs and Edwards present real, solid threats that can win you some weeks. And in Best Ball? Forget about it, they’re potential league winners at their value. 

You can find me on Twitter asking Darren Waller to adopt me at @skorishism. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below.