Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio shares its sample report of New Orleans Saints running back Boston Scott.
14. Boston Scott, Louisiana Tech (5-6, 203)
Depth of Talent Score: 78.5 = Contributor: Starter execution in a limited role; diminishing returns beyond that scope.
If there’s an unknown runner among the general audience that consumes big-corporate draft analysis, it’s Scott. He’s one of my favorite backs in this class, and if there’s a prospect at the position with the potential to make coaches, players, beat writers, and fans yell, “Who is THAT?” in training camp, Scott is on my short list of candidates.
A former walk-on, Scott was behind Kenneth Dixon—and others—on the depth chart. Before his sophomore year, he developed Cramp-Fasciculation Syndrome, a rare muscle condition with no known cure that leads to involuntary twitching, discomfort, and fatigue.
Two years after earning a roster spot, he had to leave school to figure out how to manage the condition. Although he earned spot-time in the offense prior to this year, this was his first year as the starter.
A quick back with a sweet spin and a strong jump cut, Scott’s lateral agility is an excellent weapon in his arsenal. He squirts through tight creases and avoids defender angles that would have many backs on the ground.
He’s a good gap and zone runner and uses his footwork to set up creases with a variation of pace and stride length. He’s a strong cutback runner whose height helps him hide in traffic.
Scott is one of those “he’s short, not small” runners in dimension. Blessed with a low center of gravity, he bounces off head-on hits of safeties and even some linebackers. That said, he’ll rarely push a pile.
Even so, any defender on the field might as well forget about trying to send Scott to the ground with contact from the side—he’ll likely bounce off if the hit is high. There are plays in his portfolio where he does things I’ve only seen Barry Sanders do on a regular basis.
Before you go there, Scott is not Barry Sanders. He is an underrated running back with the terrific indirect balance that resembles the elusiveness-balance combo that Sanders exhibited. However, keep those expectations grounded. Some of these plays include getting chopped at the legs, falling over the top of the defender, sticking his hand in the ground, rotating legs around the defender, and landing on his feet. He has a spin through wraps that redirect the defender’s momentum and sends the opponent flying.
Like a lot of the backs at the top my board, Scott breaks multiple wraps and bounces off multiple hits on a single play. Defensive ends and outside linebackers hitting him above the waist will bounce off. He fights for every yard and because he’s so agile, he eliminates a lot of direct angles in tight spaces with twists and turns.
Although he has a strong initial burst, he lacks long speed. Even when he breaks through the line of scrimmage clean and reaches the secondary, he’ll get caught from behind once he’s traveled 25-35 yards. Unless the blocking delivers an ideal crease, linebackers will often run down Scott from behind—often 15-20 yards from the line of scrimmage.
His ball security efficiency is excellent—fumbling only once in 349 career touches. He carries the ball with either arm.
Scott catches the ball with active hands, attacking the target away from his frame. Because he’s a shorter player, he’ll be more difficult to target downfield— especially as an athlete who can’t hold off linebackers 15-20 yards downfield. However, he’ll be an effective target on screens, shove passes, wide routes, angle routes, and swing passes.
His pass protection is surprising. He takes good angles to his assignments and maintains position to force edge defenders outside of the pocket. He finishes encounters with a perfect uppercut punch.
Scott also takes on linebackers in the A gaps. He’ll deliver a punch on these plays and turn the defender outside, forcing him away from his quarterback.
Despite the promising tape and intriguing profile, this ranking of Scott mostly limited to his work on the field when his medicals will be a factor. Expecting Scott to earn a shot with a team as anything better than an undrafted free agent is unrealistic because of his height, lack of long speed, and one good season.
It may not even be realistic that a team signs Scott because of his medical condition. It’s unfortunate to think this way, but teams may feel reticent about signing a player with a syndrome with no known cure that might be triggered by anxiety and stress. Although Scott figured out how to manage it for two years (anxiety medication and better attention to his daily health), NFL decision-makers tend to be a conservative bunch.
I hope not. Scott arguably has the most entertaining combination of agility and balance in this class. He also looks a lot more effective than his height may indicate. The talent is there and worth a look—at least in a training camp. He should earn a shot as a return specialist, an area where he excelled early in his Louisiana Tech career.
Pre-NFL Draft Fantasy Advice: Scott is an end-of-the-draft lottery ticket in April drafts where you’ll probably need to hit the Powerball and drive past a cluster of tornadoes to get downtown. Then, you’ll have to rappel over a zombie horde at the entrance of the lottery office to collect the check.
It’s best to monitor him from afar unless your league as deep rosters and a deep draft. Then again, if the map I provided above is accurate, there’s an entrance under the false bottom of the cabinet next to your stove leading you to an underground train that will take you inside the lottery building.
This analysis of Scott is only the beginning of what you’ll find every year in the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication. For most in-depth analysis of skill players available, get the 2018 Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP beginning in December.