In a draft class where most of the quarterbacks are too close to the middle for the comfort of NFL teams, there's always a chance that a relatively low-ranked guy could start climbing up the charts. That seems to be happening with Arizona's Matt Scott, a mid-round prospect in most eyes. Scott, who played in multiple systems in college and had to wait for his shot behind Nick Foles, gained a lot of traction after a Thursday throwing session that was closed to the media, but had the NFL standing at attention.
According to Anthony Gimino, reporting for NFLDraftScout.com, Scott threw about 85 passes with approximately 25 NFL scouts in attendance. As performance coach George Whitfield, Jr. said after the workout was over, that's a pretty high number for these things.
"I have never seen, let alone heard of, a workout that consisted of 85 throws," Whitfield said. "Usually guys stay in the 60, 65 range. When you go past that threshold, you're putting yourself out there for all the world to see. Now, you're going to show your stamina, your strength, in that extra 20 throws. Can my mechanics hold up? Is my focus there? Is my accuracy going to be consistent enough? He showed that. So, one, he is competitive enough to go that distance, and two, he went out there and gutted it out after losing his No. 1 guy."
Indeed. Scott may have thrown even more passes, but he lost his "No. 1 guy," receiver Dan Buckner, to a hamstring injury.
Scott said that he's received the most interest from Arizona, Seattle, Washington, Buffalo, Jacksonville and San Diego, and he also has a private workout scheduled in the near future with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Why is Scott such an interesting prospect? In the age of quarterbacks who can throw and run, he certainly fits the profile. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Scott started just 17 games for the Wildcats, but did well in two very different systems. He showed potential in Mike Stoops' offense in 2010, completing 66 passes in 93 attempts for 776 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.
After redshirting in 2011, he took the reins in 2012 following Foles' departure to the NFL and made a bigger name for himself in a Rich Rodriguez scheme perfectly suited to his talents. He completed 301 passes in 499 attempts for 3,620 yards, 27 scores, and 14 picks. Adding 506 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 113 attempts proved to the world that he's a legitimate dual-threat player -- the kind many NFL teams covet.
Now, after just 17 collegiate starts and a very solid scouting combine in which he showed off his deep arm and athletic abilities, Scott is more on the radar than ever.
Based on the game tape, Scott is an interesting prospect player who might not yet be ready for prime time. Though he's got a gun and can run like the wind, there are a few issues that need work. His three-quarter delivery leads to some erratic throws, especially when he's on the run. Playing out of the shotgun as much as he did, Scott will need to refine his mechanics when taking the snap from under center. And as much as he can threaten defenses with his speed, he will occasionally hold on to the ball too long in the pocket, leading to unnecessary pressures and sacks. He will also need to develop his read progressions after playing in a "first-read-and-go" system last season.
That said, Matt Scott looks to be one of the best bargain in this quarterback class. The NFL team willing to be patient with the fixes could reap impressive rewards in the long term.