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NFL Draft

Boston Scott Should Have Significant Role In Eagles’ Offense

  • The Draft Network
  • June 12, 2020
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Do you know the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, the football version of that would be “one team’s practice squad player is another team’s contributor.”

In 2019, the player who brought that phrase to life was former New Orleans Saints, now Philadelphia Eagles, running back Boston Scott.

After accumulating more than 1,000 yards on the ground in his senior season for the first time in his collegiate career at Louisiana Tech, the Saints took a chance on Scott, a 5-foot-7, 2005-pound back, in the form of a sixth-round pick. Though Scott’s receiving ability was in a good place in the New Orleans offense, he was behind two fully solidified starters in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.

After spending most of the season on the Saints’ practice squad, the Eagles signed Scott to their active roster in December of 2018. Before the following season, Scott was one of the final cuts late in training camp, but the Eagles quickly signed him to their practice squad the next day.

Entering the season, Scott was behind Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles on the depth chart. But as the season went on, the players in front of him all suffered injuries that bumped Scott’s name up that depth chart and into action.

Scott’s rise took a leap in the month of December when he was used primarily as a receiver. In three consecutive games, Scott saw six, seven, and six targets respectively catching every single one of the passes thrown his way. Then, in the final week of the season, Scott saved his best for last. In relief of the starter Sanders, Scott rushed for 54 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns. During his December stretch of action in four games, Scott accumulated 151 yards rushing and 199 yards receiving for an average of 87.5 yards-per-game from scrimmage. Scott was also a punt and kicker returner for the Eagles in 2019. The size paired with the all-purpose ability had people labeling him as the next Darren Sproles.

Fast forward a year and it doesn’t seem like the Eagles are looking over Scott’s final month of 2019 as the team heads into 2020.

“Buy your Boston Scott stock now,” said Zach Berman of The Athletic. “The Eagles don’t believe how Scott played in December was a mirage or simply a hot streak, but rather an indication he can be a weapon for the offense. Whenever they are on the field for training camp, Scott won’t be competing for a roster spot; he’ll be competing for more of an offensive role. That’s how the Eagles view him.”

Scott was a contributor on special teams in 2019—he was both a punt returner and kick returner—but on offense Scott’s role is likely going to come as a change-of-pace player behind Sanders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANzu3zjpI_M

There are few clips during Scott’s big four-game stretch from last year that I want to highlight as positives moving forward that can serve as both a hint to the role he might have in 2020 and why there’s reason to be confident.

First of all, Scott is a natural out of the backfield. His catch rate proves that to be true, but when you pop on the film, the process of getting out of the backfield, turning to locate the football, and bringing it in with security and momentum does not seem like a stressful ask for him.

Outside of just the reception, I want to point out two other subtleties from this play. The first is that, in the play above, before Scott sets up in the backfield, he was actually lined up off the line of scrimmage at a receiver position. This speaks to how versatile the coaching staff believes Scott is, which is great for him.

The second observation is that Scott juked cornerback Janoris Jenkins out of his soul. Scott is not the most dynamic player, but his one-cut ability is very good—his top trait. Not only does he have precise and explosive movements, but he also knows how to set up defenders to really get them going the wrong direction. Jenkins wasn’t the only player Scott hurt with a strong cut during last season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hy2FQqjp58

Something else I noticed when watching Scott is that he really understands blocking concepts. He has a knack for not losing his forward momentum yet being patient enough to allow his blocks to set up in front of him. 

Scott seems to know what he does well and also where he is limited. He knows he isn’t super strong or super fast, as to make something happen outside of his blockers when taking on unnecessary defenders. Instead, he seems to always be following his blocks and to make the best play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9dLNzV5J68

Finally, in sort of amplification of the first clip, Scott is very good at catching the football. He’s the kind of player who, even if you don’t deliver him a perfect pass, can make up for it. 

It’s not likely Scott will be dethroning Sanders for the Eagles’ RB1 spot anytime soon. And as for whether or not he's Darren Sproles 2.0, let's give it a few seasons of success before we put him in line with a player who had a consistent 14-year career. But in terms of a usage comparison and everything Scott can do to be a positive spot on the team, the Sproles visions might not be too far off.

In a league that uses multiple backs on a weekly basis, expect Scott’s 2020 to be a 16-game version of what we saw at the end of 2019.

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