HOUSTON — For the young men waiting to hear which NFL team will call their name during the draft, life can be a little difficult when you are dealing with the anxiety and apprehension that goes along with it.
The Texans sent three later picks to the Philadelphia Eagles and were able to get back into the second round after including the 33rd pick in a package deal to the Arizona Cardinals to select Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. third overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“The draft process is nerve-wracking as it is,” Scruggs told the media at the conclusion of the Texans rookie minicamp. “Once I got the call and they said they were trading up, my heart was jumping, not going to lie. All I heard was my heartbeat when they said Houston Texans are coming to get you.
“My heart was just jumping. It was crazy. I really didn’t think about it, and then my brothers were like, ‘They just traded up to get you. That’s a really big deal.’ I was like, ‘Let’s do it, man, I’m excited.’”
Scruggs was projected to be a mid-to-late-round pick due to some concerns about him being fully recovered from a severe car accident he was involved in back in 2019, where he fractured his L3 vertebrae and suffered a concussion.
He was confined to a back brace for eight months and could not compete for an entire season. Scruggs battled back from the horrific injury to be named a team captain for the Nittany Lions and was selected to the 2022 All-Big Ten Third Team.
“Once I got the call and they said they were trading up, my heart was jumping,” said Texans rookie OL Juice Scruggs about the moment he knew he was getting drafted by the Houston Texans. #WeAreTexans #Sarge @TheTexansWire @JuiceScruggs pic.twitter.com/y9TQhtidaF
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) May 14, 2023
Although he has spent time playing the guard and center positions on the offensive line, Scruggs wants an opportunity to compete and be used wherever the team needs him.
Houston has tentative plans to play him at center but could also use him at either guard position if an injury was to occur to second-year player Kenyon Green or veteran Shaq Mason. Scruggs has appreciated the family-oriented type atmosphere provided by the Texans, with players such as Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard reaching out to him after he was drafted.
He also has been impressed by first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans who gives off similar vibes as his former head coach at Penn State, James Franklin.
“Yeah, you can definitely see it,” said Scruggs about the two coaches. “They’re definitely family oriented, always talk about putting the team first. I’m just excited to get to work with him (Ryans) because you can just tell he brings energy to any room he’s in. And when you got a head coach that brings the energy, it’s easy to bring the energy. I’m just excited to play for him.”
Overcoming adversity is something that Scruggs has learned to deal with in life, from being involved in a horrific car accident that could have cost him his life to recovering and fulfilling his dream to play in the NFL.
As he prepares for Texans training camp this summer, Scruggs knows that there will be plenty of challenges that he will face, such as learning the playbook and adjusting to the speed of the game on the professional level.
Yet, his most significant adjustment will be dealing with the heat and humidity in Houston, in which he got a small sample size during his rookie minicamp at Methodist Training Center.
“I would just say the weather here is definitely different for me,” Scruggs said with a smile. “Penn State, you know, we don’t get hot that much, and I heard this isn’t even hot. Yeah, so that’s definitely going to be the biggest challenge for me.”