With the No. 12 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders went back in time, and owner Mark Davis believes that philosophy would have made his father, Al, proud.
The late Al Davis, who was a Raiders owner and general manager from 1966 through 2011, loved speed. He coveted it as a way to pressure defenses, sometimes even a bit too much. So with the top pick in the draft this year, Mark took one out of his father's book and added Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs.
“Henry Ruggs was the player I wanted for the last six months,” Davis recently told The Athletic's Vic Tafur. “My dad was always trying to replace Cliff [Branch] with so many different types of guys. … Speed, speed, speed and we really got away from that the last five, six, seven years.
"We really didn’t have anybody that could run. Nobody could run."
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That changed in a hurry with the addition of Ruggs. The former Crimson Tide star ran a blazing 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Pro Scouting Combine. That speed translated to big numbers in college, too.
Ruggs combined for 83 receptions, 1,487 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns between his sophomore and junior seasons. He's a freak athlete, and Davis has high expectations for him.
“I watched Henry Ruggs and his speed and quickness and his strength were pretty impressive," Davis said. "And then if you see his basketball highlights, my God. He made some nice tackles on interceptions and he’ll block too. He is a complete player. I was just so thrilled that we drafted him.
"Maybe that’s the piece that we haven’t had that’s Raiders football. You throw it deep the first play and the safety is worried the whole game.”
The Raiders' offensive is full of returning players. Quarterback Derek Carr will lead the way for his seventh season, running back Josh Jacobs looks like a star and tight end Darren Waller had a breakout season. As a rookie, though, Ruggs should be well-positioned to make a big impact from Day 1.
And Al Davis would be proud.