Three weeks ago, I mocked University of Arizona quarterback Matt Scott to the Arizona Cardinals in my Cardinals Mock Draft 2.0, where they went with a pass rusher early in the draft. When I started my draft series here at ArizonaSports.com, the first thing I did was give you my quarterback rankings, which had Scott as the 10th best quarterback in the class.
In that piece I closed my quick synopsis on Matt Scott with this little summation:
There isn't a ton of film on Scott, but he shows flashes of starter ability, and even when mixed with his bad streaks, it shows he is more than just draftable -- it shows a guy that could mature into something down the line.
That was before Scott hit the post-all-star game circuit and became the internet community's quarterback darling -- outside of Florida State's EJ Manuel.
In my eyes, Scott is a better prospect than fellow University of Arizona alum Nick Foles because he offered similar arm talent, but combines that with an ability to move in and out of the pocket.
What I saw on Scott that made me think he could be a Cardinals' target weeks ago is his ability to push the ball down the field in the intermediate and deep passing game.
When people talk about making "all the throws" at the NFL level, they aren't just talking about being able to throw the deep out from the far hash mark -- a staple in Bruce Arians' offense. Nor are they talking about throwing the ball 40-plus yards down the field -- although Arians is on record saying they have six home run plays a game and they won't leave any in the bag. But it is being able to make those throws with different trajectories, different velocities, and doing it in small windows with a pass rusher bearing down on you.
While Scott wasn't asked to do that much at Arizona -- only slightly over 37 percent of his throws traveled over 10 yards in the air. I don't blame him for that. Rich Rodriguez's offense was designed to get the ball out quickly and get his playmakers into space, not show off his quarterback's arm strength.
When Scott did throw "Arians passes" as I like to call them, I took notice.
While he won't compare to Tennessee's Tyler Bray or N.C. State's Mike Glennon when it comes to pure arm strength, he isn't far off when it comes to functional arm strength.
What I mean:
Scott is in his familiar spread formation, four wide shotgun set; Nevada only brings four down linemen and drop into man coverage.
Scott pumps once as the wide receiver runs a double move to the outside.
Scott released the ball from the 45 yard line and put the ball where only his receiver could get it, with excellent velocity, and strong placement.
As you can see the CB has inside leverage and is smartly using the boundary as an extra defender, but Scott has enough zip on the ball to get it to its spot, 27 yards in the air, although the gain was only 20 yards, and where allow his WR to get BOTH feet down, a big plus in translating the throw to the pros.
Movement in and out of the pocket:
Another four wide receiver set, trips right, a single receiver left, unfortunately in shotgun formation again, something that will have to be worked on at the next level.
On a designed roll out we see Scott square his shoulders and fire a bullet 12 yards downfield (traveling 14 yards in the air).
Scott places the ball in between three defenders in the numbers, but unfortunately the wide receiver falls down, negating a big run after the catch opportunity.
My favorite throw "Arians throw" from Scott was in the barn burner against Stanford.
Shot gun, four wide with Stanford bringing only four on the rush, and dropping into zone coverage.
Scott has the pocket collapse around him quickly, I timed it at just over 2.2 seconds, but recognizes where the hole in the zone is between the corner and the deep safety.
Scott drops the ball into Austin Hill, puts great placement on the ball and gets it there in a hurry giving Hill a clean walk into the end zone for the touchdown.
These three plays are obviously a microcosm of the overall work done when analyzing Scott's game and how he could possibly translate into the Cardinals offense. But these three plays show that the arm is there, the ability to push the ball deep with authority is there, as well as giving Arians another quarterback with the ability to move as protection is breaking down, something his last two quarterbacks did so well.
Scott's grade won't move for me, I like him as a fourth round project quarterback, someone that would be a fit if the Cardinals are able to renegotiate with Kolb. This would allow Scott to sit and learn for a couple of seasons before competing for playing time.
There are tools to work with when it comes to a player like Matt Scott, and that is what you look for in a late-round quarterback.