The road to the playoffs just got a bit tougher for the Raiders.
The club placed rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, and he will miss Thursday night’s contest against the Los Angeles Chargers.
First things first, let's hope Ruggs is OK and doesn't suffer any major setbacks on his road to recovery.
In between the lines, Ruggs is best known for his last-minute, game-winning touchdown grab against the New York Jets that secured the Raiders' Week 13 victory. Outside of that play, which deserves all the praise in the world, the first-round pick hasn’t made that much of an impact in this rookie season out of Alabama.
There’s no denying Ruggs’ physical talents like his breakaway speed. He hit another gear when he ran underneath the ball at the Meadowlands and blew past Jets cornerback Lamar Jackson for the score. He also wasn’t touched on a 72-yard touchdown earlier this year in the Week 5 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
But Ruggs can also completely disappear throughout the course of the game, to the point you forget he’s on the team. In 11 contests this year, Ruggs has 23 catches for 414 yards and two touchdowns. That’s the fourth-highest total on the team and ninth-highest total among rookie wideouts, even though he was the first receiver off the board with the No. 12 overall selection. You could argue he’s the team’s fourth-best receiving option behind tight end Darren Waller, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow.
Time is ticking on the regular season, so Ruggs and the Raiders are in a tough spot with just three games to go in the push for the playoffs. Even though he hasn’t put up big numbers, the Raiders will miss Ruggs’ big-play potential and ability to stretch the defense.
Las Vegas will be limping into Thursday night’s matchup, as safety Johnathan Abram (concussion), cornerback Damon Arnette (concusson), defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder) and Nick Morrow (concussion) missed Monday and Tuesday’s practices due to injury.