Matt LaFleur Hypes Packers Rookie as Future ‘Playmaker’

LaFleur on Vernon Scott

Getty Safety Vernon Scott #26 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates after an interception on quarterback Chase Forrest #14 of the California Golden Bears during the second half of the Cheez-it Bowl at Chase Field on December 26, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Horned Frogs defeated the Golden Bears 10-7 in overtime.

Could Vernon Scott be a hidden gem for the Green Bay Packers in 2020?

Scott turned some heads with his ball skills during the Packers’ second training camp practice on Monday with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noting the seventh-round safety was twice involved in breaking up passes from rookie quarterback Jordan Love. Other reporters at practice praised Scott’s ability to close quickly on the ball and make intelligent reads.

“Not a surprise,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters when asked about Scott standing out in practice. “He definitely showed that ability in college. It’ll be interesting when I go back and look at the tape because there were a couple of times where he’s got to be careful as the post player being too shallow so the balls don’t get thrown over his head. But no, he definitely has great instincts and we expect him to be a playmaker.”

Scott must still earn his place on the initial 53-man roster throughout the rest of training camp, but a strong endorsement from his new head coach certainly fans the flames of his hot start. He will compete for a backup spot behind Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. with veterans Will Redmond and Raven Greene along with undrafted rookie Henry Black.

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Scott Could Fill Hybrid Role for Packers

Scott was a two-year starter at TCU and played a mixture of safety and cornerback, but what caught the attention of Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and his scouts were his final three games playing as a safety/slot corner hybrid.

“We really like his versatility,” Gutekunst said in the team’s post-draft news conference. “He’s got a little bit of that ability to play safety but he can cover in the slot a little bit. He’s a little of a late bloomer, some struggles to get through the early part of his college career but once he took off this year, we just really liked his upside. I thought his best football (is ahead of him).”

Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated also emphasized Scott’s versatility when putting him at No. 53 on his pre-camp ranking of the Packers’ 90-man offseason roster, taking a closer look at his big-play impact during those final three games for the Horned Frogs — which included a win-sealing forced fumble and a 98-yard pick-six.

“We moved him there and go him ready in the span of a week to play against Texas Tech,” TCU safeties coach Paul Gonzales told Huber after Scott was drafted in April. “He had never taken any reps there before that week and he really thrived. When you look at his body of work as far as the season goes, most of his production and big plays came in the tail-end of the year when he made that move. That was a big deal for him to, ‘Hey, we’ve got to plug you in at a spot’ and he did it and he played at a high level. That was a pretty good culmination for him to the four years of work that he put in. I think that’s what a lot of people saw as they went through the tape of him. Early on, he was solid. As he moved to that spot the last three games, all of a sudden it was like, ‘Whoa, who’s this guy making all these plays?'”

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