As we saw in 2021, LA Rams general manager Les Snead likes using day three picks on prospects who may have more potential to contribute on special teams than they do on offense or defense. It can be hard for fans to fully come to terms with the idea that any players are ever drafted without the intent to become stars — the VAST majority of draft picks do not have near the offensive or defensive ceiling that many outsiders predict and many are meant to help fill out the 53-man and practice squad rosters, not a Pro Bowl roster — but the Rams need players all over the field and the building.
This year’s draft brought players such as Jake Funk, Ben Skowronek, and Jacob Harris as players who were noted for having fantastic potential to immediately contribute on special teams. Of those, Harris has caught the most attention as a prospect who could do more than that.
But two years ago, that player may have been Nick Scott, a seventh round pick out of Penn State who was praised for his special teams attributes. Only 11 players were drafted after Scott in 2019, but as the 243rd overall pick, he’s already surpassed reasonable expectations.
Given what we’ve seen from Scott over his first two NFL seasons, expectations may need to be raised.
Scott made the roster as a rookie in 2019, then led the Rams in special teams snaps with 378. He only appeared in 15 defensive snaps, but Scott led a group that also featured Marqui Christian, Travin Howard, and Troy Reeder with over 300 special teams snaps in 2019.
And in sixth place for special teams snaps was Darious Williams, who also managed 221 snaps on defense that year, most of those coming in December.
Then in 2020, Scott returned and made the team again, this time contributing 332 snaps on special teams. For the second year in a row, that led Los Angeles, and Scott was the only player who had more than 270. What was even less talked about was Scott’s 193 snaps on defense, with the majority of those coming in November and December.
Could Scott take a similar path as Williams towards becoming a defensive starter?
For now, it appears that 2020 third round pick Terrell Burgess could become the new number three cornerback and not the replacement for John Johnson at free safety. That would probably open up the door for Taylor Rapp, not Scott, to become the other starting safety in 2021. Rapp was Jordan Fuller’s backup last season and saw considerable action in the first half of the season, prior to going on injured reserve, so it would be mildly shocking to see Scott win a job over him at this stage.
But the competition is open and Scott has already done more than any near-undrafted player should ever be expected to do. He is no less than one of the Rams’ most valuable contributors on special teams, and he should be in LA for at least two more years.
LA Rams reporter J.B. Long spoke to Nick Scott recently on his podcast and talked about the work he’s done on special teams, as well as his fight to earn a regular role on defense.