Greg Schiano and company led Rutgers to a 4-8 record in 2022, but who are the top Rutgers prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft? These Rutgers scouting reports shine light on the team’s most-likely-to-be-drafted players.
Rutgers 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Adam Korsak, P
Strengths: Five-year starter at Rutgers who earned the Ray Guy Award last season as the nation’s top kicker. Big-legged punter who does a terrific job placing punts; 40% of his punts the past five years resulted in fair catches or landed inside the 20-yard line.
Never had a punt blocked in the past five years. Has 63 punts of 50+ yards with a career best of 79 yards. Displays outstanding touch on punts and the ability to place the ball. Flips the field.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent getting hang time on punts.
Overall: Korsak is a terrific punting prospect who was productive for Rutgers since his freshman season. He possesses a big leg and only needs to improve the consistency of his hang time before he’ll be starting for a team on Sundays.
Aron Cruickshank, WR
Strengths: Small, but speedy receiver who also impacts games returning punts and kicks. Quickly gets off the line, possesses a burst of speed, and sells routes. Displays route discipline, gives effort when the ball is in his hands, and follows blocks everywhere on the field. Keeps the play in bounds to get as much yardage as possible when handling the ball. Alters the momentum of games with long returns. Gives effort blocking.
Weaknesses: Small, struggles in battles, and loses out for the contested grab. Should be a much better route runner.
Overall: Cruickshank did a little bit of everything for Rutgers and was mildly productive as a return specialist and pass catcher. He’s a slot wideout for the next level but must stand out on special teams this summer to make it out of camp.
Avery Young, DB
Strengths: Nice-sized defensive back with an inconsistent game. Physical, works hard to get involved in the action, and flies around the field. Gives effort defending the run and is a strong open-field tackler. Displays speed moving in every direction, and has a burst to the ball out of his plant. Battles receivers throughout the route, keeps the action in front of him, and possesses good hands for the interception.
Weaknesses: Consistently trails receivers rather than covering them in man situations. Does a lot of faceguarding. Overpursues the action.
Overall: Young has been considered a draftable prospect by scouts the past two seasons, yet he’s shown no significant improvement in his game. He’s a zone safety with good size who must make an impact on special teams this summer.
Christian Braswell, CB
Strengths: Talented cornerback with outstanding ball skills. Quick in his all-around game, effectively diagnoses plays, and keeps the action in front of him. Stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks, has a burst to the ball, and tracks the pass in the air.
Effectively times pass defenses, nicely covers receivers on crossing patterns, and consistently positions himself to break up throws. Possesses good hands for the interception. Gets vertical and contorts to defend the throw. Displays good recognition in zone. Crashes upfield defending running plays or screen passes.
Weaknesses: Struggles over the slot receiver. Possesses average deep speed.
Overall: Braswell first caught my eye as a sophomore at Temple in 2019. He transferred to Rutgers only to be sidelined with injury, but he returned this season with an outstanding campaign. He possesses enough size as well as the ball skills to be a dime or possibly nickel back on Sundays. Braswell checked off all the boxes for me this year and moves towards the draft as one of the more underrated cornerbacks available.
Christian Izien, S
Strengths: Undersized, but fiery safety who flies around the field working to make positive plays. Quick, explosive, and aggressive. Breaks down well, uses his hands to protect himself, and works to get involved in the action. Effective facing plays, displays solid range, and plays faster than his 40 time.
Fires across the field, sells out, and plays with reckless abandon. Covers a lot of area going sideline to sideline. Occasionally plays over the slot receiver and does a good job. Works hard to get off blocks and make plays.
Weaknesses: Slow out of his transition and does a lot of trailing downfield. Much better facing the action.
Overall: Izien doesn’t pass the eyeball test, but the film tells a different story. He’s a hard-charging DB who fires upfield to defend the run and goes sideline to sideline covering the pass. Izien may be physically tapped out, but he plays with a special-teams mentality that could secure a roster spot for him.
Want more information on Izien? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Christian Izien, S, Rutgers | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Ifeanyi Maijeh, DT
Strengths: Once highly rated 3-technique who fires off the snap with an explosive first step, plays with great pad level, and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Works his hands throughout the action, displays good change-of-direction ability, and gets down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of plays. Resilient and fluid if asked to twist or stunt.
Weaknesses: Lacks bulk and strength and is easily out-positioned by blocks. Consistently handled by a single opponent. Never really improved his game.
Overall: As a junior at Temple in 2019, there was a lot of buzz about Maijeh projecting as a middle-round choice. His game has since leveled off, and he moves towards the draft as a free agent prospect. Maijeh lacks scheme versatility, but a team in desperate need of a 3-technique should bring him into camp and give him a look.
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