FRISCO, Texas – I have to admit, I’ve never seen Eric Scott Jr. play a game for South Mississippi, and while he might have been casually watching a Golden Eagles game, he certainly wasn’t looking like a scout.
I only saw his highlight video, and let’s remember that _high_lights makes sense because normally before the draft there are no _low_lights going around.
But have that sneaky suspicion that there’s something for Eric Scott Jr., the Dallas Cowboys’ sixth-round pick on Saturday, 178th overall.
And as a fearless detective, here are some telltale clues uncovered.
First, most of those drafts had Scott listed as possibly a priority free agent. In our _Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine_ draft guide, Scott didn’t even rate one of the 10 bios or an “Under The Radar” selection. He was ranked 33rd cornerback. In another guidebook project, Scott came in 60th. And in another projection he was 76th, his 5.65 rating had him as a “candidate for bottom roster or practice squad player” and priority free agent.
Why, Scott wasn’t even invited to play in the Senior Bowl, or practice at the NFL Scouting Combine, but at least he was a starting cornerback in the East-West Shrine game.
However, the Cowboys must have suspected something. After all, they traded their 2024 fifth-round draft pick of Kansas City for the first-ever sixth-round pick, the 33rd of 56 defensive backs selected in that draft.
Makes you go _hmmm,_ doesn’t it?
The kid had tears in his eyes when the call came from the Cowboys. His voice shook as he spoke with owner Jerry Jones on the call. During her _Draft Show_ interview, the overriding emotion continued to break through her voice.
He was asked who was the most underrated player he played against and why? Well, his answer was, “I went to little schools and was called an underdog. I always wore that proudly.”
Her tears were born of grateful relief after a long journey of perseverance when Scott nearly got lost after leaving high school in Basehor, Kan., a small town about 25 miles west of Kansas City, just north of I-70, with a student population of less than 1,000.
With few offers coming out of high school, Scott ended up at Illinois State, an FCS school in the Missouri Valley Conference. And things didn’t go well there for Scott, leaving after playing just four games in his redshirt freshman season, then returning to Kansas to enroll at Butler Community College in El Dorado. Kansas, for a reboot this 2019 season. I said his parents kind of read him the riot act.
Well, Scott made the most of his time at Butler, where current Cowboys DeMarcus Lawrence and Michael Gallup played, a stepping stone for them to Boise State and Colorado State, respectively. His performance there then took him to southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg the following season.
While playing for the Golden Eagles, Scott earned the respect of head coach Will Hall, who had this to say about Scott:
“If you’re ever around him, he’s the embodiment of our culture. He really wakes up every day and chooses his attitude and chooses to react in the right way no matter what the circumstances.
“He’s a kid who didn’t have much outside of high school, made bad decisions, ended up in middle school, and totally turned his life around.”
So how did the Cowboys unearth this potential NFL diamond in the rough?
Well, let’s start with Cowboys Mid-South region scout Sam Garza recognizing Scott’s ability, putting him first on the team’s radar. Then he got to know him a bit better during the East-West game. And even though Scott wasn’t invited to the Senior Bowl or the combine, the Cowboys were intrigued enough to attend his Pro Day practice at Southern Miss.
Unfortunately, during his practice, Scott fired a quadricep just steps from the 40-yard run, while showing that aforementioned perseverance by finishing the run anyway. Thus, his time was recorded at 4.72 for the unknown. A cornerback running a 4.72 without knowing the circumstances will send out red flags.
The Cowboys knew the circumstances.
Undaunted, Scott and his agent had a great idea. Once healthy, they recorded a video simulating what a Pro Day practice for a corner kick would have been like. Do the W-Drill, call for a turn to back up, then sprint forward, back up then sprint forward while catching a pass.
So when asked after Dallas drafted him if he worked for Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Scott replied, “I didn’t do it in person, but I did a video and I sent them about two to three weeks before the draft, “having contracted a photographer to film his session, his agent sending the video to different teams. “I had him come and get video, aerial footage and a whole bunch of other stuff.”
See for yourself. You can find it on YouTube.
The Cowboys had seen enough, as had other clubs, as Scott made 30 visits not only to the Cowboys but also to Minnesota, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Just further proof that the teams spare no effort in the scouting process.
“Well, you go to his Pro Day and he jumps 39 (inches) but he pulls his quad,” says Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay, also knowing he had an 11-foot wide jump. and 1 inch. “But he’s running the 40, most people stop and stop…but you also want to see who the guys are.”
The Cowboys liked what they saw from the 6-foot-2, 202-pound corner, who legitimately, when healthy, can run under 4.5 in the 40. five days before he s stops lame at his Pro Day.
That should clear up why the Cowboys invested in next year’s fifth to climb to the top of the sixth round, not only knowing Scott’s story and background, but also realizing that a guy like that This certainly wasn’t going to last another 34 picks in the sixth round. And they can only hope that pick turns out along with other secondary stragglers in recent years, like Anthony Brown (6th in 2016), Donovan Wilson (6th in 2019) and DaRon Bland (5th in 2022).
But it also explains Scott’s overflowing emotions after sitting there watching the draft all day Thursday and Friday and late Saturday afternoon, knowing not only that he was running out of tricks, but also the path that it has traveled to get to this point.
“I was lying on the floor with a blanket over my head in my mom and dad’s bedroom,” Scott said. “They were on the bed, and I’m in front of the bed watching TV waiting for a phone call, and it finally came. I just jumped off the floor and tears immediately started coming to my eyes. I was trying to hold him back, but I couldn’t.
“It’s just a blessing. It’s really surreal to watch and wait the last six years for an opportunity like this and for it to finally turn out the way it did. I’m really really blessed to even be here.”
Yeah, something to this pick, okay, is worth betting for sure.