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On the draft board: California’s Daniel Scott

With Juan Thornhill’s future undecided, Kansas City met with an intriguing safety at the Combine.

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California v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

During last week's NFL Combine, many reports and rumors surfaced about April's NFL Draft in Kansas City. Among those was a report that University of California safety Daniel Scott had met with the Kansas City Chiefs.

While Scott isn't one of the top safeties who will be available, he is an athletic, fundamentally-sound player that Kansas City could select during the draft's later rounds.

Here's what you need to know about this potential draft target:


A three-star recruit coming out of La Cañada Flintridge, California, the 25-year-old Scott is one of the draft's older prospects. While some may see this as a downside, an older prospect will also tend to have more experience — and will often have held leadership roles on their teams. Scott was a team captain at California, where he appeared in 49 games, starting 28 of them.

Scott made an impressive play in the third quarter of the 2023 Senior Bowl, nearly picking off a pass intended for Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas.

Scott compiled 167 tackles and six interceptions over his last two seasons at California — although he could work on being a more sure tackler. In that same period, he had 36 missed tackles. Despite this, Scott earned Pro Football Focus' third-team All-Pac-12 honors in his senior year.

On Friday afternoon, Scott dominated the workouts at the combine, posting the second-fastest 40-yard-dash time among safeties: 4.45. He also posted the second-best 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle times among all defensive backs at the event.

Film evaluation

Scott is a versatile player who played 860 snaps in 2022, splitting them between the slot, in the box and the deep second half of the secondary.

Scott is a ball hawk who does a good job of keeping the receiver in front of him when he's playing deep or in the slot — while also reading the quarterback's eyes. This allows him to break on the ball and undercut the receiver. Every bit of his 4.45 speed shows up on tape when he is playing man coverage, helping him drive on the ball and get in front of his man to break up the pass.

When backpedaling, Scott is extremely smooth; he can flip his hips and change direction effortlessly. On this play, we also see him track the ball well through the air and do a good job of high-pointing the pass.

How he fits with the Chiefs

It's easy to argue that safety is the most important position in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's scheme. Spagnuolo loves to move his safeties around, utilizing them in the slot and blitzing them from the box — almost as a hybrid linebacker/safety. The value Kansas City places on the position is evident by the investment they have made in it through both the draft and free agency.

The bottom line

Scott is just the kind of athletic defensive back the Chiefs could be looking to coach up — especially if he's still available on Day 3. Don't be surprised if Scott ends up in Kansas City.

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