Henry Ruggs aiming to break NFL Combine 40-yard-dash record

INDIANAPOLIS — Henry Ruggs III is aiming for the 40-yard-dash throne at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.

The former Alabama receiver said on Tuesday that he is the fastest player among the 337 draft prospects in Indianapolis for a crucial job interview this week, and his goal is to break John Ross’ three-year-old record for the fastest 40 in combine history when receivers take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday. No one has recorded a time better than 4.29 in the two combines since Ross, a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017, blazed a 4.22 that year. His goal, while ambitious, doesn’t seem unattainable. Ruggs recalled 4.25 seconds as his fastest unofficial 40 time, but he believes there’s an even faster run in him.

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"I’m always going to bet on myself," he said during his combine press conference. "I’m very confident in what I do."

And with good reason. Ruggs was among the risers in NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent top-50 rankings. The former Tide star checked in at No. 11, and has a chance to be the first receiver selected from an extraordinarily deep class at the position.

He’s been likened to Tyreek Hill, a comparison the 5-foot-11, 188-pound speed merchant embraces.

"That’s definitely a good comparison," Ruggs said. "I’m not the biggest guy. He’s probably a little more built than me. I think I’m, what, an inch taller? But he’s a guy I could be compared to."

Hill was reported to have run a 4.24 40 at his pro day in 2016, before he became a fifth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs and earned a reputation as the league’s most explosive playmaker.

As for where Ruggs could land in the 2020 draft, he said he had a good meeting with the New England Patriots on Monday night. He could be long gone before the Pats are on the lock at No. 23 overall, though, especially if he runs as fast as he expects to here in Indy.

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