Let's use today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to discuss one of those players who used the NFL Scouting Combine to potentially propel himself into a much higher draft position.
Read the scouting reports after the jump, and you will consistently see Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott referred to as a mid- to late-round draft pick, a guy who might be a situational back at the NFL level. After Scott ran a blazing 4.34 40-yard dash at the Combine, however, there is some thought that he could even sneak into the tail end of the first round.
Here is a snippet about Scott from Wes Bunting of the National Football Post:
The stock of Maryland RB Da’Rel Scott is through the roof right now after timing in with a sub-4.4 forty time at the NFL combine. I’ve heard from several sources of him potentially getting a look late in round one. I don’t buy it personally, but you never know just how high a guy can rise after a good workout.
At the very least you can expect scouts and general managers to go back and look at the tapes to see if their initial impressions of Scott were not correct. Speed always opens eyes and gives guys chances, even if they have not made the most out of it during their college careers.
Scott has limited experience as a return man, handling 26 kickoff returns in 2007-2007 for Maryland, averaging 21.7 yards per return.
Scouting reports after the jump.
5-foot-11, 211 pounds
From National Football Post:
Looks a lot thicker on tape than his frame would suggest. Possesses good overall muscle tone through his upper half and is pretty well put together through his legs. Displays an explosive first step when asked to press the hole. Is able to instantly accelerate out of his stance and gets up to top-end speed quickly. Isn't overly laterally gifted and lacks ideal shiftiness as a runner. However, is a no-nonsense type guy who is patient when asked to set up his blocks, exhibits a good feel in tight areas and can put his foot in the ground and absolutely explode into daylight. Possesses a real second gear to his game and is consistently able to outpace angles at the second level and create in space.
Isn't an overly powerful between-the-tackles type runner and struggles to simply push the pile and drive for tough yards. But does a nice job running behind his pads and likes to finish runs. Isn't the most natural of pluckers in the pass game as he consistently lets the ball into his body. But does look comfortable flaring out of the backfield, adjusting to the throw and creating after the catch.
Impression: An explosive back who can really accelerate into daylight at the drop of a hat. More of a one-cut guy who isn't real shifty when asked to break down and make a guy miss. However, he presses the hole quickly, exhibits good balance as a runner and is a lot tougher to bring down than his frame would indicate. At worst, looks like a very solid No. 3 back in an NFL rotation.
Scott has good speed and height for the running back position. Good quickness to the hole. Displays good vision running out in space after breaking through the line. Agile, has good moves, and can stop and start without gathering. Flashes the ability to make plays in the passing game. Tough.
Lacks great bulk and has an injury history. Won't push the pile. Will not break a ton of tackles. Doesn't pick up too many yards after contact. Needs to be more patient. While quick and shifty, doesn't possess true home-run speed to take it the distance. Route-running needs polish and has trouble in pass protection.
Scott's a potential change-of-pace reserve running back at the next level. Can be dangerous making defenders miss in the open field after getting by the initial wave. Could also develop into a weapon in the passing game if route-running improves. Not a true burner who will break long runs and will not be able to bounce to the outside as consistently as in college. Lacking as an inside runner, short-yardage and goal line back, and in pass protection. Is not a three-down load back. Scott's natural playmaking abilities should make him a day 3 selection.
From Sideline Scouting:
Positives: Great combination of speed and strength... Isn't big, but has a nice frame and runs low to the ground... Accelerates very quickly, explosive when he gets a seam... Keeps his legs driving, doesn't go down easily... Very nice balance... A good inside runner... Displays a good burst through the hole... Willing pass blocker... Displays above-average hands out of the backfield... Does a good job of always moving forward, doesn't dance too much through the hole... Should be a good change of pace back in the NFL in the same mold as Mike Goodson when he came out of college... Led all running backs at the combine with a 4.34 40-yard dash.
Negatives: Ball security is an issue, has had fumbling problems in the past... Isn't particularly shift or creative in the open field, better as a straight line runner... Below average vision, tries to break everything to the outside and routinely gets swallowed up at the line of scrimmage... Major injury concerns, struggled with an ankle injury in 2007, a shoulder injury in 2008, and a broken forearm in 2009... Did not have a very prolific career at Maryland, eclipsed 1000 yards once, in 2008, and has only scored nine touchdowns over the past two years combined... Was suspended in 2008 for violating curfew... Was typically substituted out around the goal line, struggled in short yardage situations because he always tries to make the big play.