Boston Scott knows he’s short. He’s heard about it his whole life.
Scott was too small to play on his sixth-grade team, and then tossed on the offensive and defensive lines the next two years, and did “pretty well” as a pass rusher. It wasn’t until high school that someone gave him the opportunity to play running back, and it even then it wasn’t until there was a pair of injuries during his junior year when he really got the chance to shine.
But he doesn’t see his height as a problem. The Saints rookie running back actually sees it as an advantage because, well, it’s hard to prepare to hit what you can’t see.
“You can’t really see me behind the line,” Scott said. “Run-scheme wise, if you’re pressing a certain point of attack, if you’re pressing a certain gap, you can get a linebacker or a defensive lineman to commit to that hole and then I can shoot out the back side. That’s kind of what I did at Louisiana Tech.”
Scott isn’t a cocky guy — at least not on the first impression. He could carry a chip on his shoulder and talk about all the ways he’s proved the world wrong. He could talk about how he had to walk on in college and didn’t get a scholarship until his later years. He could point out how he was a sixth-round pick and talk about how he’s going to prove the world wrong again.
But he doesn’t do any of those things. Scott says all the right things about his draft status. If there’s a chip on his shoulder, he keeps it well hidden. But you can turn on the tape and see the motivation in the way he runs. He’s a 5-foot-7, 203-pound force who isn’t easy to tackle.
The former Louisiana Tech Bulldog averaged an impressive 3.6 yards per carry after contract and broke 55 tackles last season. Both of those figures ranked within in the top 25 in the nation last season among running backs with 150 or more carries, according to Sports Info Solutions.
And no, Scott wasn’t a change-of-pace back who attacked the edges and gained his yards by outrunning defensive players to the corner. So, you can toss out the Darren Sproles comparisons. Scott often took the ball up the gut into the teeth of the defense, breaking tackles and churning out yards the hard way. Of his 183 carries last season, he ran to the left or right inside and up the middle 93 times for 590 yards (6.3 yards per attempt). Only 23 of his other runs were to the outside. The rest were off tackle.
So, how does Scott make it so hard for defensive players trying to tackle him? It’s a mentality.
“Unwillingness to go down,” he said. “I want to churn. I want to get as many yards as I can. Just having that go get it.”
It’s unclear how Scott's skills will translate to the NFL or if he’ll be able to bounce out of tackles the same way against players that are bigger, faster and stronger than the ones he faced in college. Most players at this level simply do not average 3.6 yards per carry after contact. Last season, only former Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount (3.7) and New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara (3.6) achieved that mark, according to Sports Info Solutions.
But Scott will have the opportunity to prove his abilities, and maybe even win a role early in the season. With Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games, he’ll battle with Trey Edmunds and Jonathan Williams for what could be a good amount of carries during the early portion of the season working behind Kamara.
“He was drafted as a running back,” coach Sean Payton said. “We worked him out, we saw his tape, we feel like he’s someone that can handle the running game and he’ll be one we’ll have a chance to look at. He’ll also be one we look at as a punt returner and a specialist, but I would have to say he’s a runner first.”
As a sixth-round pick, most people probably aren't expecting a whole lot from Scott. But he often does his best work when no one sees him coming.