2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jeremy Ruckert

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jeremy Ruckert

by February 3, 2022 2 comments

In what is shaping up to be a solid tight-end draft, Jeremy Ruckert of Ohio State figures in to be one of this year’s best. As a four-star recruit, the Lindhurst, New York product spent four years in Columbus. While the numbers aren’t eye-popping as say, Trey McBride, they don’t tell the full story for Ruckert. He has earned a reputation as a great blocker and a reliable pass catcher in his college career. Considering that Ruckert was always overshadowed as a pass target by a litany of star wideouts, we may not even have seen what he can truly do in that department.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Jeremy Ruckert
Jersey: No. 88
Position: Tight End
School: Ohio State
Class: Senior
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 250 lbs

Games Watched: Northwestern (2020), Penn State (2020), Penn State (2021), Rutgers (2021), Wisconsin (2021), Indiana (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Blocking (19.75/20)

Ruckert is as mean a blocker that you will find at the tight end position among those in this year’s draft class. Truly a player that lives for contact and the dirty work of helping in ways that do not show up on that stat sheet. Ruckert found success frequently blocking out of the backfield, off the line, and coming in motion Occasionally, there were some times where Ruckert whiffed on some block pick-ups, but those were few and far between. In the total sample size, he only got overpowered by a defender once. That being in the 2020 Penn State game going against draft prospect Brandon Smith. Quite easily, this is the best part about Ruckert’s game.

Route Running (7.75/15)

At his size, Ruckert’s route-running ability was never a focal point, but he does enough to get by. The bulk of what he ran was in slant, and go routes. In addition to sticks, curls, and a couple of instances of receiver screens, the latter of which appeared to be as a decoy. Also, Ruckert can find soft spots in zone coverages and uses that to his advantage. This is still an area where he is limited, but not something to be overly concerned about.

Release (7/10)

Ruckert had the benefit of a ton of free releases in the games seen. In the instances where he had a defender on him at the line, Ruckert has the ability to get going well. Against Indiana, one of his two scores came via blowing right by a linebacker right off the line before the catch. Based on the sample size, hard to grade based on the sheer number of free releases, but Ruckert can beat man coverage off the line.

Tracking (8.25/10)

Although he was not a major target in his time at Ohio State, Ruckert always put himself in a great spot to make a grab. It definitely helps when your quarterbacks are Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud, but it takes two to tango. Whether it’s in stride downfield, on a screen, or otherwise, Ruckert can track anything that comes his way. Additionally, he is sure-handed which only helps his cause.

Run After the Catch (8/10)

When Ruckert has a full head of steam, just about the only way to stop the train is by going low. His big frame on numerous occasions helped him gain additional yardage on plays that would have otherwise not been as productive after the catch. You would have to imagine that this should translate to the next level for Ruckert as well.

Hands/Ball Security (8.75/10)

Over the course of film study, there were only two plays that were negative in this category. The first of which came in the 2020 Penn State game, where a high pass went straight off Ruckert’s hands. Save that one instance, he pretty much caught everything that was thrown his way. The other was a fumble in the matchup against Penn State a year later. After bouncing off a tackle, Ruckert ran into two additional defenders, one of which ripped the ball out of his hands before the play was blown dead. That is one that NFL teams would like to see not happen, but that is the only time that was seen.

Contested Catch (8.5/10)

Not often Ruckert was in these situations, but when he needed to make a contested grab, he showed the ability to do so. One example was the aforementioned Indiana score. After beating press coverage, Ruckert easily outmaneuvered a linebacker to score on a jump ball. Another came on a defender trying to dive in for a pick in the second Penn State game. With the defender obstructing Ruckert’s view, he still maintained concentration and made a relatively easy grab. Additionally, and to no surprise, contact is a non-issue after the catch.

Versatility (10/10)

It would actually be easier to name the spots where Ruckert did not lineup in his days at Ohio State. He can lineup outside the numbers, in line, in the slot, and everywhere in-between. Ruckert also was fantastic when lined up as a fullback as well. With some extra room to build up some speed, he mauled defenders at the line of scrimmage frequently. If the best ability is availability, versatility is for sure No. 2, and Ruckert is as versatile as they come.

Athleticism (4/5)

Hearing about tight ends who spent time on the basketball court is not much of a surprise. However, Ruckert additionally played baseball as well in his high school days. Also worth mentioning that Ruckert spent some time in high school as a kicker. The pride of Lindenhurst High isn’t lacking in the athleticism department whatsoever. That will only help him moving forward.

Player Summary

This will likely be a big talking point with Ruckert, but his lack of production may not help his cause in the draft process. Which is a shame considering he can do so; on top of the big-name receivers he was with at Ohio State taking up most of the target share. On the flip side, his versatility will absolutely get him selected on day two most likely. Ruckert’s blocking ability as well could maybe see him getting some reps at fullback at the NFL as well. Him potentially being used like Kyle Shannahan uses Kyle Juszczyk would be very intriguing, to say the least. As long as he still plays in his natural spot of course.

Rookie Projection: Potential Starter/Likely Backup

Third Year Projection: Starting Tight End

Final Grade (82/100): Late Second Round

Player Comp: T.J. Hockenson/Cameron Brate 

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images 

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