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Why Cowboys picking CB Eric Scott wasn't all that puzzling

The Dallas Cowboys and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn have a type when it comes to the secondary and sixth-rounder Eric Scott fits the bill.
Credit: AP
Southern Miss defensive back Eric Scott Jr. (2) celebrates an interception during an NCAA football game against Liberty on Friday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Hattiesburg, Miss. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

DALLAS — Arguably the one Dallas Cowboys selection that drew the most head scratching from fans and media alike was the sequence that led to the pick of cornerback Eric Scott.

Dallas traded a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 168 overall pick in Round 6 to take the former Southern Mississippi product.

Josh Edwards from CBS Sports considered the choice to be the Cowboys' most questionable pick of the 2023 NFL draft.

"Scott is the type of cornerback that Dallas has been drawn to in recent years; big, tall and fast," Scott wrote. "He has had solid ball production through his career but I did not have a chance to study his film, so I know the least about him. He will not be thrust into action right way [sic], having the opportunity to learn behind Stephon Gilmore and Trevon Diggs."

One of the reasons why the Cowboys made such a puzzling pick — from an outsider's perspective — is because the personnel and scouting department has earned credibility to do so.

Since 2016, according to Pro Football Reference the Cowboys have drafted the most starters among defensive backs taken in Rounds 6-7 with three. In 2016, Dallas picked cornerback Anthony Brown in the sixth round. In 2017, the Cowboys took safety Xavier Woods from Louisiana Tech in the sixth round. The Cowboys also scored a sixth-round safety in 2019 with Donovan Wilson — which WFAA had tracked from pro day to draft day. The Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets were all tied with second-most with two.

Scott also fits a profile that the Cowboys have been targeting since hiring Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator in 2021. At 6’-2”, 202 pounds, Scott has the traits to be a rangy cornerback with the length to disrupt a receiver's catch radius. 

While the Cowboys may have their starters with Diggs, Gilmore, and second-year DaRon Bland, Scott can still make an impression on the coaching staff on special teams. The attrition of training camp and preseason could give Scott an opening in the transition phase of the game to catch the attention of special teams coordinator John Fassel.

In fact, Scott knows he will have to make an impact on special teams first.

"I know I want to be able to come in and make an impact on the special teams unit," Scott said on a conference call April 29. "Really, I just want to be able to put out my best performance that I have."

Based on track record, the Cowboys knew what they were doing when they took Scott. The draft is 50-50. From here on out, only Scott and fortune can determine success.

Do you think Eric Scott will carve out a role in the secondary for the Cowboys? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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