The 2023 NFL Draft class is deep and talented on both sides of the ball, including the offensive line, where Penn State C Juice Scruggs hopes to be an early pick and bring his versatility as a two-year starter to an NFL depth chart. While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Scruggs’ scouting report suggest about his NFL Draft stock?
Juice Scruggs NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Center
- School: Penn State
- Year: Redshirt Senior
When it comes to offensive linemen, more times than not, the only time you ever hear their names mentioned is when something goes wrong during a game. A penalty, missed block, or just getting dog-walked by the defensive linemen, it’s not fun being in the trenches.
It’s even less fun when you’re a center and know that every game, you’re going to be going up against the biggest guy the defense has to offer, consistent double teams, and take on stunting linebackers. It’s a rare breed who can play this position, and it’s even fewer who can play it well, as is the case for Penn State’s Juice Scruggs.
Scruggs, like many college players, was a two-way player in high school, working both sides of the trenches. A four-time letterman at Cathedral Prep in Pennsylvania, Scruggs was part of a team that went 49-3 during his four years, including back-to-back 14-0 records.
He was elected the Pennsylvania Football News Class 4-A Lineman of the Year as a senior and earned All-State First-Team honors on the offensive line in 2017 and defensive line in 2016. Scruggs was a consensus four-star prospect, ranking 288 overall, ninth in Pennsylvania, and the No. 5 center in the nation.
As a true freshman, Scruggs appeared in only one game but found a way to make an impact as he shared the Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year Award. After redshirting his 2019 season and appearing in seven games in 2020, people outside of the program began to pay attention to Scruggs.
Making his first start as a redshirt junior, Scruggs started 13 games and was named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by the coaches and media. Additionally, he earned the team’s Dick Maginnis Memorial Award, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive linemen.
2022 saw more growth — not just in his game but also in his leadership. Scruggs started all 12 games at center and was voted team captain, which many players say is one of the greatest honors they have in their careers. Scruggs received an All-Big Ten Third-Team selection by the coaches, was tabbed an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by the media, and found his name on the Rimington Trophy watchlist.
Teams love versatility out of offensive linemen, and Scruggs feels he has more to learn. “I can play both center and guard. If I have to learn how to play the tackle position, I’ll do that. My goal is to win football games. If playing multiple positions helps achieve that goal, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
At the end of the day, that’s all anyone could ever ask, and it’s traits like this that could make NFL teams and coaches fall in love with a prospect, even if their scouting report doesn’t suggest they’ll be one of the top players at their position.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Juice Scruggs
Strengths: Underrated center prospect who would be best in a zone-blocking system. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and quickly gets his hands up. Explosive, fires off the snap, and turns defenders from the line.
Stays square, keeps his feet moving, and gets a pad on defenders. Keeps his head on a swivel, makes the line calls, and effectively quarterbacks the offensive line. Outstanding position blocker. Gets his hands into defenders and rides them from their angles of attack. Effective with the shotgun snap.
Weaknesses: Tends to fall off blocks rather than finish off defenders. Not a dominant drive-blocking lineman.
Overall: Scruggs is a fundamentally sound lineman who is experienced at both guard and center. He’s a hard-working and tough player with an underrated game. Scruggs will be a Day 3 selection, but he has enough ability to start on Sundays.
Juice Scruggs Combine Measurements and Results
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 301
- Arm Length: 33 1/4″
- Hand Size: 10 1/4″
- Bench Press: 29
- 40-Yard Dash: 5.22
- Vertical Jump: 32″
- Broad Jump: 8’6″
Penn State C Juice Scruggs Current Draft Projection
When in doubt, add depth to your offensive line. That theory has never gone out of style, no matter how many decades this game has been played. Deficiencies in the trenches lead to poor play, injuries, and, eventually, changes in staff. Load up on enough depth through versatility, and all of a sudden, NFL teams can take steps forward rather quickly.
While Scruggs might need to wait a bit to hear his name called, it’s highly unlikely he will need to sweat it out with his family in the latter part of Day 3. Scruggs is currently the No. 4 center in the 2023 NFL Draft class, according to Tony Pauline’s Big Board, and the No. 136 overall player. With a draft grade of 3.49, Scruggs is slated to be picked between the fourth and fifth rounds.
Scruggs brings a combination of desire, toughness, and athleticism. Coming in at 6’3″ and 302 pounds, he tested well at the NFL Combine and posted the second-highest Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of the 2023 group of centers (7.91). Throw in 29 reps on the bench, a 32″ in the vert, and 33 1/4″ arms, and Scruggs has the athleticism, burst, strength, and length to be a versatile interior offensive.
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