The 2023 wide receiver class is quite different than in recent years. In the last few off-seasons, we have seen very defined tiers in the rookie class. But the 2023 class has a very small top tier, a second tier full of question marks, and a third tier that basically contains the rest of the pack.
Whether it be tall, big-bodied receivers or smaller pass catchers, it is hard to grasp the prospects likely to be picked in the mid to late third round in rookie drafts. And here is another example of one of these wide receivers.
Come along as we dive into the rookie profile of Cincinnati’s Tyler Scott. What are his strengths and weaknesses, where does he separate himself in this tier, and should he be a name to keep in mind later in your rookie drafts? Let’s find out.
- College: Cincinnati
- Height: 5′ 10″
- Weight: 177 lbs
- Hand Size: 9″
- Age: 21
- Year: Junior
- Draft Projection: Third/Fourth Round
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.44
Scott grew up in Norton, Ohio, where he attended high school. At Norton, Scott was a multi-athlete, playing football, basketball, and track, where he excelled as a sprinter (something we see in all of his football tape). Scott racked up 48 rushing touchdowns combined in his Junior and Senior years and was scouted as a three-star recruit.
Scott received offers from Akron, Ball State, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Toledo before ultimately choosing Cincinnati. He was listed on 247 Sports as the 41st-best prospect out of Ohio in the 2020 class.
Scott got limited opportunities to play his freshman year with the Bearcats, seeing the field in only four games and only tallying 40 yards from scrimmage. But he started to make a name for himself in his Sophomore campaign with Desmond Ridder and the Bearcats CFB Playoff run.
Scott put up 520 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 30 catches in his second year, averaging 17.3 yards per reception. He followed that up with an even bigger Junior season, with 54 receptions, 899 yards, and nine touchdowns.
Scott’s major skill comes through his speed, evident throughout his tape. Scott used his speed at Cincinnati to keep defenders off-coverage, as they needed to respect his deep ball game. But even with the defense being aware of his big-play ability, Scott could break free for long touchdowns far more than once in his college career.
Cincinnati capitalized on this speed in their offense, using Scott to stretch defenses and open up opportunities underneath for other playmakers as well. A weapon like Scott can be deadly for an offense if utilized correctly, and often the Bearcats could exploit defenses because of this.
Credit: @MathBomb on Twitter
After his Junior year, Scott chose to forgo a Senior season and enter his name into the 2023 NFL draft.
There is little denying that Scott has blazing speed that changes defenses. While his combine numbers were surprisingly low (4.44 40-yard dash) when you watch his tape, you can tell his in-game speed is much faster. This isn’t unheard of, as some players play quicker at game speed than in workouts (Devin Hester ran a 4.46 40 at the combine).
This game-breaking speed led to a very interesting TD list for Scott. Let’s take a look at his 14 career receiving touchdowns at Cincy:
- 9/4/2021 – vs. Miami (OH) – 81-yard TD catch
- 9/11/2021 – vs. Murray St – 23-yard TD catch
- 10/8/2021 – vs. Temple – 38-yard TD catch
- 11/20/2021 – vs. SMU – 53-yard TD catch
- 12/4/2021 – vs. Houston – 25-yard TD catch
- 9/10/2022 – vs. Kennesaw St. – 21-yard TD catch
- 9/17/2022 – @ Miami (OH) – 41-yard TD catch
- 9/24/2022 – vs. Indiana – 75-yard TD catch
- 9/24/2022 – vs. Indiana – 34-yard TD catch
- 9/24/2022 – vs. Indiana – 32-yard TD catch
- 10/1/2022 – @ Tulsa – 61-yard TD catch
- 11/5/2022 – vs. Navy – 38-yard TD catch
- 11/5/2022 – vs. Navy – 27-yard TD catch
- 11/11/2022 – vs. E. Carolina – 76-yard TD catch
Ten of Scott’s 14 touchdowns were over 30 yards, five were more than 50 yards, and none were under 20 yards. Big play ability like this is exciting for fantasy owners looking for a player that can tally up points quickly. Eight of these plays are 10+ point earners in 0.5-PPR leagues.
Smooth Routes and Pace
Scott’s blazing speed can get him open vertically, but he also uses this to his advantage on the field. Because corners need to give Scott so much padding before a route, Scott can take advantage by breaking off routes with quick, smooth cuts.
This is an advantage many players of Scott’s size and speed do not take advantage of, and it stands out on his tape. Many receivers that have Scott’s speed rely on that alone to succeed. They do not feel it necessary to develop strong route discipline and precise cuts because they can beat defenses on speed alone. But when you get to the NFL level, speed alone will not win. Scott having a basis in this route running will be a great tool in his pocket at the pro level.
Vision and Awareness
Scott also excels at taking advantage of his surroundings after the catch. More than once, you can see Scott returning for a catch and having the vision and awareness to find the open space and make a chunk play turn into a home run.
This is imperative for a receiver like Scott. While he can take the top off of defenses, he will also succeed in comeback routes where he can leverage his speed to get defenders back and off-balance. Knowing that Scott will need to run these routes at the next level, having the vision and awareness to rack up YAC will be an asset to NFL teams and fantasy owners.
Scott is a bit undersized for the pro level, as are many receivers in this class. At 5’10” and 177 lbs, Scott is smaller than the average corner in the NFL (6’0″ and 193.53 lbs). With this smaller frame, Scott will not be able to win many battles in contested situations and will be an easier receiver to take down if a defender can get decent contact on him.
This isn’t necessarily a weakness Scott can work on. But he needs to develop ways not to have defenders making contact with him at good angles. Scott is strong for his size, but everyone is strong at the pro level. There have been successful smaller-framed receivers in the NFL, but it is certainly not an advantage to be Scott’s size.
Drops and Catching with Body
Scott has one of the worst tendencies we see with wide receivers at the college level: catching the ball with the body instead of with the hands. This causes way more drops than we should see for Scott.
Coupling this with Scott’s smaller size, the drops are concerning. Scott will only get so many targets in a game, and if he lets those targets slip through his fingers, we are losing fantasy points. Scott, a smaller receiver, often has to plan his route after the catch. But he needs to better secure the ball before making the next move.
Scott is a hard receiver to predict at the next level. While his skillsets set him up to be a weapon for whatever team drafts him, he still needs to hone all his skills to the best of their ability. Every other aspect of your game must be solid when you are an undersized player like Scott.
Scott’s drops are concerning and must be corrected immediately to get opportunities and targets. But if he gets the chance to showcase his speed and can hang onto the ball, he could be a fun big-play weapon for any NFL offense. Although, it is also a bit of a worry for me that many of Scott’s long touchdowns came on broken coverage. Is Scott forcing this broken coverage with speed, or is he just the beneficiary?
Scott is a lot more exciting from a best-ball point of view, as his big games will be hard to predict on a game-by-game basis. But having a player like Scott in the FLEX will be a ton of fun for owners when he breaks out for a long touchdown in a game.
I don’t anticipate Scott being a game-changer right away at the next level, so that I wouldn’t be spending major draft capital on him. I foresee Scott being an option in the mid-third round or later in rookie drafts, but he is a fun upside selection once you start getting in that spot in your drafts.
Am I way off-base? Or is this an accurate rookie analysis? Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @timbmartens and let me know where you rank this rookie. And stay tuned to Dynasty Nerds for more rookie profiles.
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