The Bears couldn't believe Tyler Scott remained on the board when they went back on the clock with their second pick in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Most draft experts had Scott pegged as a top-60 player in the class, and the Bears felt similarly.
Scott's 4.21 Junior Olympian speed is his calling card. But he's more than his speed. Falling to the fourth round suggests Scott is all gas and no nuance. That his speed is only trick -- one that might catch some teams napping but will, in the end, make him just an ancillary weapon and not a main contributor to a revamped passing attack.
But the Bears don't believe that to be the case with Scott. To the Bears, Scott's speed is just one of many tools in an expanding box.
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It's his unique wiring that gives them the belief that the Cincinnati product can make an immediate impact -- an unrelenting drive to maximize rare gifts and not wind up among the countless NFL draft burners lost to the dustbin of history.
Scott was a running back in high school but converted to wide receiver at Cincinnati. With Olympic-level speed, it would have been easy for Scott to rely on his afterburners to get the best of AAC defensive backs. But he spent countless hours in the lab learning to mesh speed with technique.
“Having the speed that I have, it's really just learning how to use your speed and knowing that everything doesn't have to be 100 percent, but it has to look 100 percent," Scott told NBC Sports Chicago on the Under Center Podcast. "It’s an acting game out there -- well, more so than anything, like it's just body language, making a defender think one thing and doing another thing. So I think those are kind of the some of the different nuances as far as just kind of the receiver position is just really just kind of figuring out how can I make him think one thing, how can I mirror things up, show him one thing, one play, come back mirrored up and make him think another thing and do another? Because at the end of the day, he doesn't know where you're going.
"It's just a real big mind game out And it's all about just, you know, putting on a show."
Scott credits his work with wide receivers coach Mike Brown for helping him learn how to blend his speed with his routes, throttle down and then throttle up to make defensive backs feel his speed.
That work with Brown helped take Scott from running back playing receiver to legitimate wideout, but his daily work against future NFL picks Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner and Coby Bryant hardened him into an NFL prospect who enters the league with the ability to beat Sundays best -- because he's already done it.
"So you got to learn how to get open against somebody who already knows what's coming and are good in the way that they are," Scott said of facing Gardner and Bryant in practice. "So, it definitely gave me a leg up for sure. Because their mentalities, just the way they approach the game, and just they are two different guys as far as the way they played the game. Coby, like I said, was more of an off guy who's going to sit back and read coverage. There were times where I would walk out there, and he would tell me my route. I would lineup, and he was like, ‘Yeah, I know you got to dig coming, or you got this post coming.’ And I’m like, ‘At least don't play the route.’ But he would tell me those type of things.
"So it was tough going against that every day in practice, but ultimately made me better because I had to get open against somebody who already knew what was coming. And so when it got to the game, it just, it was so easy because I had to learn how to mirror things up and really be a good actor when it came to him. And so when I got in the game, I could have guys turn around and flip around and do all these different things. Because the caliber I was going against.”
Scott describes himself as an "old head" who stays home and watch movies with his fiancee and collects sports cards for fun. When he isn't unwrapping an Elly De La Cruz rookie card, he's pouring over film of the NFL's best to pick up things he can implement into his game.
Brandon Aiyuk's ability to set up defensive backs, Davante Adams' basketball-esque releases, and Amari Cooper's suddenness are some of his recent subjects. Scott also is making the most of his opportunity to play with and learn from DJ Moore.
The Bears drafted Scott believing his speed was the perfect weapon to pair with quarterback Justin Fields' deep-ball ability. Like everyone, Scott understands this season's importance for Fields and the Bears' passing game. That the Bears believed Scott could play a role in such a pivotal season says a lot about where they think the receiver is entering the NFL.
That's a lot to ask of a fourth-round pick. The offseason addition of Moore gives Scott some runway to find his footing. The Bears won't rely on him right out of the gate, but he knows he wasn't drafted to sit on the sidelines in Year 1.
"There’s always pressure," Scott said. "It’s always pressure, you know, especially from just playing this game at high levels, it's always pressure, and we just learn to get comfortable in it. And like I said, at the end of the day, I'm here to make [Fields'] job easier. I'm here to make him great. And so that's been my same mindset since I was in college. I would always say it's my job to make -- whoever is behind center – it’s my job to make him great and get his name in the newspaper.
"Coming in, that was kind of my nit was my vertical speed and, being that vertical threat. I just cherish that opportunity and being able to be a part of something like that. I'm grateful that they trusted me to bring that asset in. Somebody like me, who is very hungry to show what I can do."
When the Bears drafted Scott in April, it wasn't just his speed that area scout Ryan Cavanaugh raved about.
"The make-up is even better than the player," Cavanaugh said. "He's a great kid. Very tough-minded."
That's why the Bears are so high on Scott and view him as an essential part of a new-look passing game. It would be easy to pigeonhole Scott into a prototypical gadget role for a guy who describes himself as a "raw" receiver. It's even easier with Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool occupying the Bears' top three receiver slots on the depth chart.
But the Bears don't see Scott as a role piece whose contributions will be viewed as a lucky addition should they arrive in Year 1. Neither does he.
"I have a a pretty, a pretty, heavy room as far as these guys that have been there, done that, you know, have a lot of talent," Scott told NBC Sports Chicago. "But for me, my mindset has always been, be so good that they have to put you in the game. No matter who's around, you have to be so good that they have to put you out there. And so that's just been my mindset."
So what does Scott, a fourth-round draft pick and former running back, believe he can bring to the Bears' offense in 2023?
"I don't really have too much of a ceiling for myself," Scott said. "I just see myself being an impact and having a hand in the stirring the pot of a team that's gonna compete in the playoffs and ultimately for a Super Bowl."
That's why the Bears raced to turn in the card with Scott's name in Round 4.
Rare traits and rare wiring often equal rare results. That's why Scott now calls Chicago home.