Chris Johnson was recently voted the best running back in the league, Javon Ringer has been accepted in my mind as a very capable backup who just hasn't really been given a chance to get a full workload, and I still think that Stafon Johnson could make the team next year and be a very dynamic threat out of the backfield. That is, just as long as they don't draft Da'Rel Scott.
Moving on, you may think that the last thing the Titans need is another speed back who isn't as comfortable hitting the inside holes, and although Scott, the Maryland alum, reportedly once ran a Johnson-esque 4.29 40 yard dash, he has much more to offer than just speed.
An underrated pass-catcher, Scott is also a much better interior runner than most scouts give him credit for, especially when he's given a lane and time to accelerate on the draw play. I've had the privilege to watch him play live at the Military Bowl this year where he earned MVP after 200 yards rushing with an average of 15.4 yards per carry and he looked for all the world like a young(er) Dexter McCluster. There is no doubt in my mind that Scott is ready for the next level.
His injury history and relative lack of production that you look for in a future NFL back will probably scare away a lot of teams, but I honestly don't see either of those as problems that could really affect his career. In fact, despite his wrist injury, Scott was second in the team with 708 rushing yards and was fifth on the team in catches. The fact that he had that kind of year while nursing the injury says that not only is he a tough player, he'salso got the ability to produce while being hampered by nagging injuries that will no doubt occur in the NFL. To give you an idea of what kind of player he is when he's one hundred percent healthy, Scott ranked in the top 30 in the nation as a tandem back with 94.4 yards per game in 2008 and ran for over 1,100 yards. 2009 is when he began to be labeled as injury prone and he started only 5 games. When he returned in 2010, he had to compete for carries with Davin Meggett and D.J. Adams who took over as a goal-line back.
Looking down the road, do I see him as feature back? No, sure it's possible, but he doesn't look like that kind of player to me. However, I do see him thriving in a role similar to that of Dexter McCluster's in Kansas City. He's not quite at that level in terms of his pass-catching prowess, but I really like to think that with a little work that he could be. He also has some projectability as a return man. I know that we all love Mariani as the return guy, but if he is indeed committed to earning a role as a slot-receiver in the coming years, perhaps it's in our best interests to draft his replacement. Scott has the speed, acceleration, and elusiveness to be that replacement.
Like most of the players on this list, he can be had in probably the sixth round, but that's the farthest I see him slipping. I wholeheartedly agree that this is a year that should be focused on acquiring a quarterback and some help on defense, but Scott is a terrific talent who could immediately be a factor on special teams, serve as a third down back, and be a crucial injury replacement for Chris Johnson who has to be feeling the effects of consecutive seasons of 315+ carries. Assuming he goes undrafted, the Titans would be very wise to give him an invite to training camp, just to see what he's got. I can almost guarantee that he'd make the team and be the starting kick returner by the time the regular season started.