Rams 2023 free agency preview: Will Nick Scott buck safety trend in LA?
Nick Scott joined the Rams as a seventh-round pick in 2019, just a few years after transitioning from running back to safety while at Penn State. It wasn’t surprising that he began his career as a special teams contributor, but in each of the last three years, he’s steadily increased his role and playing time.
From 2021 to 2022 alone, he went from playing 36% of the snaps to 97%, carving out a path to a starting spot next to Taylor Rapp. Now he’ll be a free agent and the Rams will have a decision to make: re-sign a key special teams player and safety or let him walk?
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1 tackle for a loss
5 passes defensed
2 forced fumbles
30 receptions allowed, 38 targets
3 touchdowns allowed
PFF grade: 54.2 overall
(Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)
Scott stepped up as a full-time starter for the first time in his career, playing just about every snap throughout the season (97%). He was one of the most reliable and consistent players on defense, helping keep things together when so many other players were going down with injuries.
He’s a hard-hitting safety who can also play the deep half of the field, using his eyes and instincts to read opposing offenses and make plays on the ball. For the second year in a row, he had two interceptions, showing off his ball skills in the secondary.
Scott can be overly aggressive with his angles at times, which leads to missed tackles (he missed 12 times in 2022).
Rams depth chart
*pending free agent
Positional need: Medium
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Safety has never been a high-priority position for the Rams. They rarely re-sign their own safeties despite using Day 2 picks on John Johnson, Taylor Rapp and Terrell Burgess since 2017. Scott elevated himself as a former seventh-round pick and special teams player, turning into a quality starter in the secondary.
It hurts the Rams that Scott and Rapp are both free agents in the same year, but they still have Jordan Fuller in the fold, too, along with Russ Yeast and Quentin Lake – two 2022 draft picks.
Prediction: Signs 3-year, $12 million deal with Rams
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Scott probably won’t have a huge market in free agency, not on the level that Taylor Rapp – a four-year starter – will. But he’s a valuable special teams player and an aggressive player on the back end, which teams will be drawn to.
Even though the Rams have let John Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner walk in recent years, Scott could be the one to buck the trend and earn an extension in Los Angeles. He’s a leader in the locker room and on the field.