One of the few job groups of this Green Bay Packers team that remains largely undecided is safe. Aside from Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos, there are at least two and possibly three spots up for grabs this summer. And not only is this a place on the roster that these unnamed players Savage and Amos will compete for, but also playing time. Whoever finishes third safe should see their fair share of time on the pitch.
Enter sophomore safety Vernon Scott, who in a recent article I named as a possible candidate for an under-the-radar breakout this season. Scott was a seventh-round pick for Green Bay in last year’s draft and, as expected, saw minimal playing time as a rookie.
Scott was in the field for 90 defensive snaps in 2020, according to PFF ($$), and recorded one sack, five tackles and on cover, he allowed seven receptions on eight targets at 10.6 yards per catch. While this is a small sample, we’ve always seen Scott’s versatility, as he took four shots on the defensive line, 32 from the box, 41 as safety, 12 from the lunge and another from the box. the limit as a cornerback.
Coming out of TCU, Scott was known for his versatility, lining up all over the defensive lineup, and as general manager Brian Gutekunst told us after the 2020 draft, that’s a big reason why the Packers de Green Bay were drawn to the old Horned Frog:
“We really like its versatility,” Gutekunst said via Forbes. “He’s got a bit of that ability to play it safe, but he can cover the slot a bit. He’s been a bit slow to blossom, he’s struggling to get through the early part of his college career, but once he took off this year we really liked his positive side.
This new Joe Barry defense is expected to resemble that of Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Rams from a year ago. This defensive unit finished the year fourth in DVOA and first in points per game allowed. If that’s indeed the case, then as Packer Report’s Ross Uglem told us in the Cheesehead TV Draft Guide, we can expect two things from this defense: They’ll be playing lightboxes a lot, and we’ll be seeing a lot. two high safety manholes.
Scott, coming from TCU and playing under head coach Gary Patterson, is well versed in the two-tier safety program, taking 348 of his career shots in the position. And with the lighter boxes, that means we’ll see the safeties play closer to the line of scrimmage and have a big part in the racing game.
Again, Scott has plenty of college experience playing closer to the line of scrimmage as he lined up in the box on 356 of his career shots at TCU. He has also shown himself to be a willful tackler, ending the 2018 season with a “high quality” race defense and a tackling rating according to PFF measurements.
It’s also worth mentioning that with the possibility of Savage seeing more slot action this season, Amos will need a running mate in this two-height look, which would mean ample playing time for whoever finishes. for being this third security.
Ultimately, training camp and preseason will be the real litmus test for Scott and give us the chance to see if he has taken a step forward in year two. Will Redmond, Henry Black, Innis Gaines and Christian Uphoff.
But from a form and skill standpoint – which is obviously very important – Scott could certainly carve out a pretty big role in that Joe Barry defense this season.