The results in Year 1 were middling for both. Ruggs caught only 26 passes for 452 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 13 games. Arnette appeared in just nine games with seven starts, recording a pair of passes defensed.
General Manager Mike Mayock said in January that he was disappointed in the productivity of the entire draft class from 2020. But asked specifically about Ruggs and Arnette in his pre-draft press conference, Mayock said he was anticipating a lot more from both in 2021.
“I’m excited about both of them. I don’t think there’s any question in our building how talented they both are,” Mayock said Thursday. “Henry’s got to get stronger. Damon’s got to get stronger. They’re both spending an awful lot of time this offseason — both with the strength and also the conditioning aspects. In my mind, we’re going to see different guys. I made a comment a couple months ago about Ruggs and about that whole class last year needing to step up this year and I still believe that.
“And from Ruggs’ perspective, the sky is the limit for this kid. We knew exactly what he was and that’s who he is. We had no surprises last year on Ruggs. Now, he needs to take it to the next level too, the next level up. Stronger, better route runner, finish, get both feet down — all those things — and we think he will. Same thing with Arnette, up-and-down year. Injured, COVID, all kinds of different issues. We need consistency in effort and I’m a big believe in both those kids. I’m really excited to see them play this year.”
The Raiders have added players at wide receiver and at cornerback in the offseason to solidify the positions around Ruggs and Arnette. But if the Raiders are going to take the next step and reach the postseason, they will need a significant jump from both of their 2020 first-round picks.