Juice Scruggs’ Strength, Experience Make Him An Intriguing 2023 NFL Draft Prospect
After five seasons playing for Penn State, center Juice Scruggs opted to forgo a sixth season and declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Scruggs hails from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he attended Cathedral Prep. As a four-star prospect, he was ranked as the No. 8 player in Pennsylvania, the fourth-best overall center, and ranked as the No. 233 overall player in the Class of 2018, according to 247Sports. Standing at 6’4″ and 297 pounds, Scruggs committed to Penn State over schools like Ohio State, Michigan, and LSU.
Scruggs only appeared in one game his freshman year, but there were high hopes within the program that he would take the next step in the offseason and become a bigger contributor for the Nittany Lions.
Little did he know at that time, however, that he wouldn’t set foot on the gridiron for the following season.
Early in 2019, Scruggs was involved in a car crash that resulted in him breaking a vertebra and suffering a concussion. The accident also resulted in the redshirt freshman missing the entire 2019 campaign while rehabbing.
Scruggs returned during the 2020 season and saw playing time at center and guard for the Nittany Lions. With 2020 being his first year back from the near career-ending injury, Scruggs earned the Tim Shaw Thrive Award, which is awarded to a Penn State player who has dealt with adversity and inspired his teammates at the end of the season.
Although Scruggs played wherever needed during his stint as a Nittany Lion, he mostly played guard in 2021. He appeared in all 13 games.
Things changed in 2022, as Scruggs spent the entire season playing center for the Nittany Lions. As a veteran, he was widely respected as the vocal leader for Phil Trautwein’s offensive line. The much-improved offensive line helped Penn State earn a Rose Bowl victory, which capped off an 11-2 senior season for Scruggs.
The interior offensive lineman has an elite combination of strength and footwork that helped him propel into one of the Big Ten’s premier run blockers.
The Penn State captain declared for the 2023 NFL Draft on December 23, 2022. Many analysts believe Scruggs will be a day-three pick and will most likely be selected as a center. According to NFL Mock Draft Database, Scruggs is ranked as the No. 185 overall player in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Various recent mock drafts have Scruggs being selected by multiple teams. For example, TWSN has the Dallas Cowboys selecting Scruggs in the sixth round with the No. 212 overall pick, while Sports Mockery has the Chicago Bears selecting him much earlier with the No. 79 overall pick. Additionally, Cards Wire has the Arizona Cardinals taking Scruggs with the No. 180 overall pick, while Draftwire has the Los Angeles Rams drafting him in the sixth round with the No. 191 overall pick.
While it’s possible Scruggs gets drafted as high as the third round, it seems most likely that he will end up being taken in the back end of the draft. However, Scruggs’ resilience along with his experience playing multiple positions on the offensive make him worthy of being drafted.
The 2023 NFL Draft runs from Thursday, April 27, to Saturday, April 29, in Kansas City, Missouri, and will be televised on ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network.
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