San Diego State, isn’t exactly known for being a power house. Nor are they known for being in a power house conference. Since they don’t play in a power house conference, their players get overlooked, or dinged for “lesser competition”. When players can play well at lower level conferences, they show the ability to compete at another level. Some times that translates, and some times it doesn’t. In the case for Ezell Ruffin, I think his talent translates to the NFL.
He has good size, 6’1 210. You don’t have to see a scale and tape measure to realize how big he is. On tape, he plays bigger than he listed and blocks bigger than he listed. He has the strength to get off of press coverage. He is very good at coming back and adjusting to the ball. He lays out for over thrown balls, and adjusts well to under thrown balls. He is a very willing and very solid blocker. He sets up a good base, gets his hands on the defender, and keeps them out of the play. He lines up at all WR positions. (Outside and inside) From those positions, he is used to run block, chip a defender before going out on a route, and he an run every route from those positions. He can make the tough catches, and does very well with defenders all over him. He shows ability to break tackles, run through arm tackles, and fight for extra yardage. When he is near the first down marker, he usually knows where he is on the field to get the first down. Interestingly enough, he was moved to RB his first year, which shows how tough of a runner he is.
As most will say, level of competition may hurt his draft stock, especially since his production has taken a dip due to missing some time this year with injuries. He hasn’t shown to be a red zone threat, with on 5 receiving TDs. He allows defenders to get the inside leverage on in breaking routes, which causes deflected passes. His route running is could used some work, but he shows potential to get better. He has missed some time due to injuries, not sure if that will have a long term effect. While he is a good blocking WR, he let’s his hands get out side, causing holding penalties to follow. His hands can be questionable at times. That is evident as he drops some easy passes, but makes very tough one handed grabs. He could learn some consistency with his hands.
Ezell Ruffin is an interesting prospect. He plays bigger than his listed size, which plays well into his draft stock. His hands are questionable, but he makes some tough grabs that most can’t make. Ruffin shows the strength to out muscle defenders for the ball and won’t get beat on jams. With proper coaching, Ruffin can be a stout, versatile WR at the next level. Ruffin will more than likely be a day 3 pick, but could have an immediate impact.
Video Courtesy of Draftbreakdown.com
Video: 3:07-3:30, Ruffin makes an amazing catch. From 3:33-3:56, Ruffin makes a great adjustment, but drops an easy one.