Arizona's Matt Scott Is the Next Great Sleeper QB in the NFL
USA TODAY Sports
The NFL Scouting Combine is over for quarterbacks hoping to impress NFL scouts and analysts in attendance in Indianapolis, Ind.
The prevailing attitude was that this crop of quarterbacks wasn't very strong and that Geno Smith (West Virginia), Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) and Matt Barkley (USC) were the best NFL prospects in an otherwise weak class.
But Matt Scott (Arizona) may have changed that perception of weakness when he shined during his workouts.
Scott ran a 4.69, the third-best 40-yard dash among all of the quarterbacks. For a dual-threat quarterback, speed is important and that respectable time only helped his stock. But four seconds of achievement doesn't lock down a prospect's draft status—neither do the field drills.
In fact, watching a quarterback throw the ball without defenders in his face seems kind of pointless, doesn't it? What scouts are looking for is footwork, reaction times, accuracy and, yes, how well a quarterback interviews one-on-one.
They're also looking for discrepancies in listed height and weights of the players—schools can get a little overzealous in enhancing a player's measurements in their official player profiles—and how these players measure up against their most elite peers.
While Oregon's Marcus Mariota, UCLA's Brett Hundley and Stanford's Kevin Hogan were turning heads in the Pac-12, Matt Scott was largely overlooked.
Even though Scott led the conference in productivity passing for 3,620 yards and was nationally ranked No. 12 in productivity, he didn't get the same amount of attention as Mariota, Hundley or Barkley did. He flew below the radar for most of the season despite displaying characteristics the NFL loves: sportsmanship and team-first attitude. From NFL.com:
Few college players follow up a co-Offensive MVP season by taking a healthy redshirt to allow someone else to start in their stead. But Scott made that move in order to allow Nick Foles to run the Wildcats’ offense in 2011. The move looks like it might have paid off, as Scott was a great fit for new Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez’s spread attack.
So he's an unselfish player, so what? Hey, that's a big deal in the NFL where over-inflated egos and disgruntled attitudes tend to disrupt locker rooms and the sidelines. Scott had already scored points for proving his unselfish attitude at Arizona but how did he do in the combines?
From CBS Sports' Rob Rang:
The ball explodes out of his hand on short and intermediate throws. Several caught receivers by surprise during the gauntlet drills with how quickly they arrived.
It wasn't all good for Scott, however, as his accuracy tailed off on deeper throws. Also, while Scott demonstrates plenty of arm talent, his footwork can be a bit inconsistent. He didn't consistently step into his throws Sunday.
From the Tucson Citizen's Anthony Gimino:
From a three-point stance, players run 5 yards to the right, 10 to the left, pivot, and run 5 more yards to the finish. Scott completed the drill in 3.99 seconds, the best time for a quarterback at the combine since at least 2006 (results listed on NFL.com don’t go back further).
Scott also was first in the three-cone drill, a good measure of change of direction. His time of 6.69 seconds was the second-best for a quarterback in the past eight years, trailing only Tim Tebow at 6.66 seconds.
From National Football Post's Russell Lande:
Scott was the most consistent QB out of the 2nd group today. While he didn’t stand out physically in terms of stature or arm strength, he threw every route with tight zip and very good accuracy. With several “big name” QBs in his group struggling with mechanics and accuracy, Scott acquitted himself well in a very tough environment.
From USA Today's Tony Pauline:
Scott’s draft grade has been ascending since September, and he made another positive impression on scouts at the combine. He looked comfortable and confident on the field Sunday and delivered his passes with speed and accuracy. His timing was a bit off as receivers were waiting on throws, but general managers around the league are excited about Scott’s potential after his workout.
From Pros2Preps' Eric Sorenson:
“I know there are a lot of people that really like him,” NFL.com draft analyst and former Dallas Cowboys Director of Player Personnel Gil Brandt told Pros2Preps.com earlier this week. “I think he’ll be taken down in that fourth-round area or a little past that.”
Matt Scott has improved his draft status. He might not get drafted until the fifth round, but that's OK because look what happened to Tom Brady after an unremarkable 2000 scouting combine.
Patience, as Matt Scott knows, is a virtue.
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