This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.
-Las Vegas offensive coordinator Greg Olson generated some headlines around rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs when Olson announced the Raiders would 'start with Ruggs in the slot and Bryan Edwards outside' going into camp. One could run wild with the quote here and conclude that Ruggs is competing directly with slot specialist Hunter Renfrow for snaps, but that would be reading into things too much. By 'start in the slot' Olson almost certainly means begin in the slot rather than play there permanently in a starting capacity. If so, then Ruggs will presumably venture outside the slot once the Raiders coaches feel he's showed adequate progress when running from inside.
It's probably good news for Ruggs' fantasy value that the Raiders are giving him slot looks early on, though. Slot targets are the easiest passes to complete, so this development could mean that the Raiders intend to feed Ruggs a good number of targets, putting him in position to create yardage after the catch. If the Raiders were breaking Ruggs in outside, by contrast, it would leave open the possibility that they use him as a downfield speed decoy rather than a true target. The more he runs from the slot, the easier it will be to funnel targets Ruggs' way. Still, Renfrow was very effective in the slot last year and will probably remain the lead slot receiver for the Raiders. Ruggs, by contrast, will eventually line up all over the place and threaten defenses a variety of ways.
-It was at one point falsely reported Thursday that Ke'Shawn Vaughn had been cleared from Tampa Bay's COVID list, but subsequent reporting clarified that the rookie third-round pick is in fact still on the COVID reserve. The longer he stays inactive the more favorable the playing time projection for the recently signed LeSean McCoy, who in his veteran distinction doesn't need the practice reps as badly as Vaughn does. Although there's no publicly available diagnosis confirmation, it's not the most encouraging sign for Vaughn that he remains on the list while seventh-round fellow rookie Raymond Calais was activated from the list Thursday.
-In light of the opt-out announcements from Miami slot receivers Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson, the Dolphins worked out a pair of veteran receivers Thursday between recent Colt Chester Rogers and former fourth-round Cleveland pick Ricardo Louis, who was actually just on the Miami roster before they cut him July 25. Louis (6-2, 215) is super athletic but has never shown much in the way of skill set at receiver, mostly relying on manufactured screens and carries even going back to his days at Auburn. Rogers has much less prospect pedigree as a humble slot specialist from Grambling, but Rogers has probably shown a bit more NFL productivity despite his lesser athletic tools. Neither Rogers nor Louis would be favorites to win out over incumbent Miami wide receiver candidates like Isaiah Ford, Jakeem Grant, or Gary Jennings.
-Former first-round pick Josh Doctson opted out of the 2020 season Thursday, knocking down one more option at receiver for the Jets. Doctson was likely behind all of Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Vyncint Smith at receiver, so his absence shouldn't change much or anything about the Jets passing game. Turning 28 in December, Doctson's time to come through as a prospect has probably passed for good.
-The Dolphins maybe have a COVID situation to monitor, as six players were added to their COVID reserve list Thursday. Three of those six are defensive additions the Dolphins will depend on for defensive improvement, including draft picks Raekwon Davis (defensive tackle, second round) and Brandon Jones (safety, third round). The third player is free agent edge defender pickup Shaq Lawson, the former first-round pick out of Clemson.