2023 NFL Draft

Interview: California Safety Daniel Scott Turns Heads At The Combine

In what’s considered a down and weak safety class, California senior Daniel Scott turned heads during his Combine workout yesterday, recording some of the top names across the board. A 4.45 40, 39.5 inch vert, 10’7″ broad, and great agility/shuttle times. There’s size to boot at 6’1, 208.

But he isn’t just a workout warrior. Scott is highly experienced with six interceptions over his last two years. He impressed at last month’s Senior Bowl and I caught up with Scott after the first day of that week’s practice. Below is a transcription of my interview.

Alex: How was the first day out there? Just your first initial impressions.

Dan: It was cool. It was good to get out here, flush it out a little bit. We got to run around, installing a little bit of defense. It was fun.

Alex: How different is this scheme from what you did at Cal? Is it a big difference in verbiage or in terms of coverages?

Dan: I mean, verbiage a little bit. But they simplified a little bit just so we could play fast, have fun and fly around and just compete. Once you kind of realize what type of words they’re using, you kind of translate into your own words and figure it out and go from there.

Alex: Six years at Cal. What kept you there? Instead of declaring a little bit earlier, what made you go back to school?

Dan: I just thought I had more left in the tank. I think I could button up some of my issues that I had on tape. Some of technique flaws or bad habits that I could button up, tackling, things like that.

Alex: Specifically what technique did you want to work on?

Dan: Just guarding man-to-man a little bit. Guarding some slots. It was fun out there to run around with those guys. A little bit of tight end too. Setting edges and all that.

Alex: Now you were primarily what – post safety, strong safety, slot? What did you play at Cal?

Dan: A little bit of both. We rotated both ways. I played the boundary side. Like playing the post, but also like coming down and playing in the box a little bit.

Alex: What was the overall scheme? More zone, man, what’d you guys primarily play?

Dan: We were like match cover three. That was like our skeleton

Alex: Tell me about [Steelers’ DB Coach] Grady Brown, the defensive coordinator here. He’s coaching you guys up a lot. What’s he like and what’s he kind of really impressing upon you guys?

Dan: I love his energy. Honestly. I think he’s making sure that we understand what type of tone we need to come with. What the standard is what their expectations are of us and how we can help them and how they can help us. It’s a learning process for us and it’s also a growing process for everyone. Not only us as players, but the coaches as well. So I’m excited to learn from him and the rest.

Alex: Tell me about the TCU game, the pick-six you had on QB Max Duggan. On a little curl/flat, I think you had. Take me through that play.

Dan: I had two receivers to my side of boundary side. Walked down late, it was kind of a quick game, read the quarterback, snapped outside of [the #1 receiver] and just kind of broke and made the play. Bummed we didn’t get the win but it was a good play.

Alex: For the Steelers, they’re big about mental toughness. They want guys who are mentally tough. Can you tell me one time that you displayed mental toughness, something you really had to overcome?

Dan: Honestly just staying at Cal for six years. Took me to my senior year to get some playing time. Had some guys that are now in the league that were in front of me. Just kept putting my head down, grinding. Had 6:00 AM workouts, had to go through special teams and just kind of make my way up on the team and eventually made it here. And I was captain of the team last year and made the most of it

Alex: What does that mean to be named captain?

Dan: It meant a lot. You put it in all that hard work all the extra effort, extra time in the weight room, extra time in the film room and have that kind of blossom and see where I could lead my group. It meant a lot.”

Look for a full profile on Scott before late April’s draft.

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