Our Top Rookies for the Upcoming Season
Updated: Jun 17
By Kartik Mathur
Henry Ruggs III
"I bring an explosive playmaker, a great receiver, a great all-around receiver" - Henry Ruggs III
Henry Ruggs III ran a blazing 4.27 in the 40-yard dash, one of the best times ever for a receiver. Of course he poses a threat to every defense he faces. The entire secondary is scared that Ruggs will have his back to the defense with his speed. He caught an average 17.5 yards per catch, proving his ability to make deep plays, while also having great RAC ability. He gained 56.5% of his yards after the catch.
He also has amazing ROUTE RUNNING SKILLS as he can make quick cuts, juke defenders, and has good field awareness to separate himself quickly from defensive backs. He is mainly known for his speed, but he is a polished route runner as well. This is an example of him selling a fake slant and running a fade :
Ruggs lined up primarily along the outside but did plenty of damage out of the slot proving to be versatile. He also caught 87% of the catchable passes thrown his way, dropping just two. He has good secure hands and adjusts himself to make incredibly hard catches which are either overthrown, are too high, too low or too far.
Here is an example :
However, NFL analysts have 2 concerns. One being his routes, as he hasn't perfected his route running tree. Ruggs primarily ran slants, post routes and fades. He will be forced to run a different variety or routes. He does have enough time to work on that though. Second, is his physicality. Sure in his college years, he was aggressive and everyone especially praised his ability to finish his plays. But when defensive backs tried pressing him at the line of scrimmage, Ruggs had a hard time. Corners were physical enough to stay on his hip and slow him down. Henry Ruggs will have to learn to play against aggressive press coverages which means he would also have to work on his releases as well.
Chase Young could be the next best defensive end in the league. Young had 16.5 sacks in just 14 games. He is a polished edge runner with extreme capabilities to hunt down and sack the quarterback. Offensive lineman often use cut blocks to stop a powerful edge rusher. For those who don't know, cut blocking is an offensive line technique that consists of an offensive player knocking a defensive player down by hitting his knees. Young swiftly side steps cut blocks and then pressures the quarterback. This is an example :
Chase Young weighs a 120kgs, and still has explosive and quick feet. This allows him to pressure not only the quarterback, but also the runningbacks. Why runningbacks? He has the ability to quickly engage with an offensive lineman and disengaging fast to make a tackle. This reveals he is also a good run stopper and can rack up tackles for loss. Here is another example :
Chase Young effectively uses his hands in order to get past the offensive tackle. He was precise and also had a great sense of timing. Whether it was trying to stab blockers in the chest with a long arm, or swatting away their arms and getting around the edge with ease. He has good power and is a speed rusher. This is an example were he used his arms and smoothly cut to the outside to pressure the quarterback.
Chase Young is a good overall rusher, however what he lacks is finesse moves. Young barely used spin moves or fakes. If Young does add these, It would dramatically help benefit his speed rushing abilities. The Redskins pass rush has improved significantly as Young would team up wit Ryan Kerrigan who has had 30+ sacks in the past 3 seasons.
Okudah was selected by the Lions with the 3rd pick of the 2020 NFL draft. This cornerback has what an ideal superstar should have: the proper size, proper speed, skill set, football IQ and a positive, hard-working attitude. It's the attitude that Detroit head coach Matt Patricia is going to love.
He stands at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. Size is a massive advantage for Okudah as it will help him tremendously when it comes to covering NFL wideouts such as Davante Adams and Adam Thielen who both play in the same division as Okudah ( NFC north ).
Okudah ran a 4.48 at the 40 yard dash. The additional speed is one of the reasons why Okudah was so dominant at Ohio State. It will benefit him as he faces the tough task of keeping up with wide receivers in the NFL.
Okudah plays through the wide receiver and disrupts the route through precise timing and regularly gets his head back to the football before the receiver. He anticipates route breaks ridiculously well, whether through feel or vision. He has great route recognition and has explosive leaping ability with ideal height and timing to address the ball. He had 9 pass breakups in 2019 and is fantastic at MAN COVERAGE.
Jeff Okudah maintains downfield leverage on deep balls and positions himself accurately to breakup the pass or intercept it. A majority of the cornerbacks in NFL end up with pass interference calls on deep plays. But in the entire 2019 season, Okudah had no fouls, which means 0 pass interference calls. Actually he did have 1 but for a late hit on a receiver. This indicates how he is a clean and polished cornerback. It also means he doesn't, or barely allows deep catches.
Overall he is a top class cornerback and will have a great future in the NFL. However he does need to improve his tackling but that shouldn't be a problem. He is amazing at man coverage, good at zone as well, is a versatile player who has unreal field awareness and can read offensive plays and counter it. The lions have complete confidence that he could fill in the loss of Darius Slay and make a good duo with Desmond Trufant. This 21 year old could be the next best cornerback in the league.
Check out our other blogs on the top rookies for 2020