California safety Daniel Scott is one of the most versatile, experienced, and athletic safeties in the 2023 NFL Draft. Scott ran the 40 in a blazing 4.45 seconds. Scott’s lower-body explosion was on display via a 39.5-inch vertical jump and 128-inch broad jump. Scott’s strength was highlighted by 22 reps on the bench press.
Scott recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about training for the combine at Sanford Power in Irvine, California, his standout showing in Indianapolis, which teams have shown interest in his services, and more. Scott is a fluid mover with terrific range.
JM: You’ve been training at Sanford Power in Irvine, California with Curt Truhe and his team. How have they gotten you right throughout this process?
Daniel Scott: They’ve done an extraordinary job getting us ready throughout this process, especially before the Senior Bowl, Pro Day, and NFL Scouting Combine. They’re a bunch of detail-oriented individuals. We had the ideal schedules that ensured we’d feel our absolute best for whatever event was coming next.
Before the Senior Bowl, we were prepped for what was coming in Mobile. We started ramping up training for the combine and made sure we felt the best we could feel for the testing. It was the same with the Pro Day. Everything was organized and planned in advance.
That entire team has an open-door policy. They love chatting with the players and explaining the “WHY” behind everything. They pushed us as much as they could. There might have been a day when someone was a little tired. They were there to give you that extra push when you needed one.
JM: It paid off. You ran a 4.45 and had a 39.5-inch vertical and a 128-inch broad jump. Do you feel like you surprised scouts with your performance?
Daniel Scott: I definitely feel like I surprised some NFL scouts. I didn’t really surprise myself though. I didn’t surprise anybody at Sanford Power. We were consistently achieving the results we wanted to achieve. I would definitely say I surprised everyone that wasn’t in my immediate circle though.
JM: When I turn the tape on, I see a fluid mover with the range necessary to play as a single-high safety. You wore a lot of hats at California, but I’m curious if that was your favorite hat to wear at Cal?
Daniel Scott: I would agree with that. I love lurking in the back and reading the quarterback. Doing that as best as I can has always been a lot of fun. I just love the versatility that comes with playing safety in general.
You have to play man coverage. You’re going to get your reps in zone coverage as well. You have to drop down and play in the box. You have to blitz. The versatility that comes with playing the position in this day and age is a lot of fun. It’s awesome. Playing that deep-high safety role is always a lot of fun.
JM: I’m going to build on that a bit. You love triggering downhill. You click-and-close as a walk-down defender. What do you love about playing forward?
Daniel Scott: That’s a great question. That’s how I’ve been taught to play the position from that deep-high role. As a safety, you’re supposed to be the last line of defense. In an ideal world, you should never have to open up your hips and chase somebody from behind.
The goal is to keep everything in front of you and play forward. I’ve always taught myself to keep the ball in front of me. That allows me to take better angles and play a little faster. I can close those gaps. Playing downhill and playing fast means you’re playing fun. I try to do that as much as I can. I want to get my body into the face of the ball-carrier. I always want to put the onus on their plate to make a decision.
JM: So do you prefer playing zone coverage over man coverage?
Daniel Scott: No, not necessarily. I love playing both. We ran a lot of zone concepts at California. I’ve played a ton of reps in zone. At the same time, I love coming downhill and trying to lock someone down one versus one.
JM: You’re versatile. Have you completed any Top 30 visits, private workouts, or Zoom meetings since the Senior Bowl?
Daniel Scott: I had a few Top 30 visits with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, and Detroit Lions. I’ve probably met with another 10 teams through Zoom. I’ve met with the Colts, 49ers, Eagles, Raiders, Commanders, and Saints through Zoom.
The entire process has been awesome. Those in-person visits allowed me to meet with coaches at their facilities. Experiencing that first-hand was great. Talking football with coaches on Zoom is also a blast. That allows you to focus on install [defense], basic Football 101 stuff.
JM: We’ve appreciated your time today. What kind of impact is Daniel Scott going to make at the next level?
Daniel Scott: I’m going to make a continuous impact. I’m never going to stop growing and getting better. I’m always going to develop. I’m never going to stop helping my teammates because that’s what I’m all about.
They’re going to get my best. I’m always going to put my best foot forward. I’m an extremely hard worker. I’m motivated to do better.
I’m just excited to get on a team and get rolling. I can’t wait to play football again.
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