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Revitalization Potential for Ex-Draft Pick Eric Scott with Mike Zimmer’s Cowboys

The 2023 NFL draft brought a series of unexpected twists for Cowboys enthusiasts. From opting for a defensive tackle in the initial round to hastily selecting a tight end in the second round, and adopting a laissez-faire attitude towards the running back position, Dallas certainly ignited fervent debates within the fan community.

Amidst the unpredictability and controversy surrounding many of their choices during that fateful weekend, one pick stood out as particularly perplexing: Eric Scott Jr., a sixth-round selection from Southern Miss.

When the Cowboys called Scott’s name, draft analysts were caught off guard. They frantically sifted through their notes, exchanged worried glances, and filled the airwaves with enough superfluous verbiage to make even the most seasoned speech teacher wince.

Dane Brugler, the authority on all things draft-related, had ranked Scott as the 60th best cornerback in the draft class, despite profiling only the top 46 prospects. The Cowboys’ decision to aggressively pursue Scott left many speechless. They even traded a 2024 fifth-round pick to Kansas City to move up in the draft and secure Scott’s services.

The selection of Scott, just nine spots after drafting Asim Richards in the fifth round, raised eyebrows and speculation. Perhaps a lively debate during the Richards pick prompted a “let’s go for both” mentality among the decision-makers.

Regardless, it was evident that the Cowboys coveted Scott and saw potential in him that eluded most draft experts. This made him a compelling narrative to monitor during minicamps and the preseason, a storyline that is likely to continue into 2024, even if he remains somewhat overshadowed by other members of the 2023 draft class.

Eric Scott was chosen as the 178th pick in the sixth round of the 2023 draft, earning a respectable score of 8.69 out of 10. This placed him at 293 out of 2222 cornerbacks from 1987 to 2023.

Scott was viewed as a physically imposing and athletically gifted prospect during the draft evaluation process, leading to variance in his draft stock. The Cowboys identified him as one of the most explosive players available. This explosiveness, a trait highly valued by the team, was evident early on during Scott’s offseason activities in Dallas.

Given the absences of Trevon Diggs and Nahshon Wright, Scott received first-team opportunities and impressed many observers with his abilities. However, the crowded cornerback situation and his relative lack of experience caught up with him, resulting in a rookie season that essentially served as a developmental year for the 25-year-old prospect.

In 2024, the landscape has shifted significantly. With Stephon Gilmore and Jourdan Lewis entering free agency and Mike Zimmer taking over as the head coach, Scott is poised for potential opportunities within the roster. Zimmer’s defensive scheme, which favors big, physical cornerbacks adept at man coverage, ball skills, and open-field tackling, aligns well with Scott’s attributes. Having spent a full year in the Cowboys’ program and with an offseason to grasp Zimmer’s strategies, Scott is on equal footing with other defensive backs on the team.

While Scott may not be vying for a top-three spot in the near future, excelling on special teams could solidify his position as a valuable depth player in 2024. Although predominantly an outside cornerback in college, Scott’s ability to showcase versatility in playing both inside and outside positions could elevate his standing within the team’s defensive depth chart.

As the season progresses, Scott’s role in Zimmer’s defense will be intriguing to watch, and he is a player deserving of attention throughout the summer.