From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling California S Daniel Scott.
#32 Daniel Scott, S, California (R-Senior) –6’1, 208lb
Senior Bowl/Combine Invite
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Daniel Scott||6’1, 208lb||10||30 1/4||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has the size, frame, and athletic traits you look for at the position
— Experienced defender with 49 games played and 28 starts
— Versatile having lined up as a centerfield safety, in split zone, in the box, and in the slot
— Does a good job flowing to the football across the LOS as well as downhill from up top
— Will square up runners in run support before making the tackle
— Displays good closing burst to the ball
— Smooth mover in open space when it comes to his transitions and backpedal
— Can break on the ball quickly on underneath routes to contest passes
— Plays though the receiver’s hands at the catch point
— Displays the range to make plays on the sideline from centerfield as a post safety
— Can be effective on the blitz
— Has a knack for undercutting routes and sitting on throws while reading QB’s eyes
— Great locker room guy who has shown commitment to the process
— Should be able to contribute right away on special-teams units
— Lacks ideal arm length for the position
— Doesn’t always play to his timed speed
— Relies too much on his eyes in coverage
— Can easily be baited by QBs and moved out of position
— Eyes get caught in the backfield often, causing delayed response time
— Will get head faked the wrong way when covering from the slot and bites on jab steps
— Pursuit of the football runs hot and cold
— Often loafs around when not the first defender on the scene
— Questionable desire to get down and dirty as a hitter
— Doesn’t get off blocks well against the run or fighting pressure against screens
— Angles of pursuit can be off at times, causing him to overrun plays
— Will be a 25-year-old rookie
— Redshirt Senior (sixth year) prospect from Pasadena, CA
— Born October 26, 1998 (age 24)
— Starred as a receiver, defensive back, and punt returner in high school
— Redshirted his first year on campus in 2017 and didn’t see any action
— Played in 10 games as a reserve in 2018, picking up four tackles and one fumble recovery
— Played in 11 games in 2019, including his first career start, and made 16 tackles and interception, one pass breakup, and one quarterback hurry
— Played in all four games with three starts in a 2020 season shortened by COVID-19 and made 20 tackles, one pass breakup, and one pass defended
— Started 12 games in 2021 and had 82 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, one forced fumble, three interceptions, and two pass breakups
– Started 12 games and made 85 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, four pass breakups, and two forced fumbles
— Team captain (2022), All-Pac-12 preseason first-team pick (2022)
— Graduated in May of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, earned graduate in business administration in December of 2021
Daniel Scott got the full college experience during his time at Cal, playing for the Golden Bears six seasons. The Pasadena product rose up the depth chart through the years, redshirting as a true freshman and eventually getting some work as a special teamer and reserve the next two seasons. He went on to start the final 24 games of his college career and capped it off with a first-team All-Pac-12 nomination in 2022, recording over 160 total stops, seven TFLs, six INTS, and six PBUs during that span. He has a knack for making plays in coverage in the two clip below, getting in position as a deep safety as well as jumping routes for INTs.
Scott is a versatile safety who played all over the defense for Cal. He would line up as a centerfield post safety, in split zone, in the box, and in the slot. He does a good job working to get position on receivers in coverage like on this rep against UCLA. Scott gets his arm across the body for the intended target to knock down the pass and force the incompletion in the red zone.
While effective in coverage, Scott has shown that he can be well-utilized on the occasional blitz as you can see below against the Bruins. Using his speed on the snap to fly into the backfield and trip up Dorian Thompson-Robinson by the ankles, he knocks the UCLA QB down for a loss on the play.
Scott flows to the ball well as a run defender, be across the field or coming from top down as a deep safety. Watch these two tackles Scott gets in on back-to-back plays. He closes the distance between him and the runner and makes the tackle.
Here is an example of Scott doing the same thing against the pass against Notre Dame. Showing off his 4.4 speed, he reads the underneath pass to the flat and closes the distance quickly to make the stop near the LOS. That prevents the receiver from getting the first down.
Scott has several deficiencies that stick out when watching tape. He’s not very physical at the point of attack against blockers and struggles to get off blocks when playing the right. Watch this clip against UCLA. The slot receiver cracks down on Scott, who is unable to fight off the block and made the play on the inside run despite being in position to fight pressure as the runner rips off a chunk gain.
There are several instances scattered throughout Scott’s tape when he appears to be playing lackadaisical in terms of his pursuit to the ball. He doesn’t appear to be a defender that actively seeks out contact and can be slow to process what his eyes are seeing. You can see for yourself in these two consecutive plays where Scott stands up in the middle of the play, unaware what is happening in the first clip. In the second clip, he freezes with his eyes on the outside as the runner plunges into the end zone right inside of him.
While Scott has displayed his versatility at times playing various spots in the secondary, that doesn’t mean he’s a natural fit for all those spots. He tends to struggle covering in the slot and can get faked out by hard jab steps or head fakes by slot receivers or tight ends. You that see in the clip below against TE Michael Mayer, giving up the easy slant for a TD on the goal line.
Daniel Scott is an experienced, capable defensive back who has the ball production and tape of playing multiple positions in the secondary that will appeal to teams at the next level. His best spot in the league would be as a single-high/split zone safety where he can play with the ball in front of him and come downhill to make plays and undercut routes. He can dabble some in the slot and near the box, but his lack of physicality and reliability in man coverage could get him exposed against power-run teams as well as when covering slot WRs and TEs man to man.
When thinking of a pro comp for Scott, Daniel Sorensen of the Saints came to mind as a similar athlete (6’1 3/8”, 205lb) who has played all over for the Chiefs during his time in Kansas City. Sorenson went undrafted in 2014 out of BYU and signed as a UDFA, cutting his teeth as a core special teamer before getting a crack at defensive snaps. He went on to start 39 of 111 games in KC, picking off 14 passes while deflecting 36 others as more of a feast-or-famine DB.
I see Scott taking a similar route as Sorenson did to start out his career, starring on special teams and playing as a reserve safety best suited playing on the back end in coverage. Given his age and his deficiencies as a player, I see Scott more as a role player/backup caliber player like Sorenson than a high-level starter, at least at this point in his career.
Pittsburgh could use another safety in the room after losing Terrell Edmunds, despite the addition of Keanu Neal and re-signing of Damontae Kazee. Scott took a pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh, and given his leadership, the Steelers could have some interest on Day Three of the draft.
Projection: Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 6.5 – End of Roster/Practice Squad (6th Round)
Games Watched: vs UCLA (2022) at Notre Dame (2022) at Washington State (2022), Senior Bowl (2022)