Just a couple of months ago, Boston Scott looked like a safe bet to have a job on the Eagles’ 53-man roster this fall. Then the Eagles signed Darren Sproles on July 19, and path to employment in Philadelphia got much, much steeper.
Scott knows that this is life in the NFL and that nothing is handed to you, so he isn’t going away without making a hard sell to the coaches.
Similar in stature to Sproles at 5-foot-6 and somewhat in skillset, too, Scott had a solid practice on Saturday, making a nice run and another nifty catch that ended with a thundering hit from linebacker Alex Singleton. Scott went down hard, but never dropped the ball and bounced right back up.
“Oh, man, that was my first bam-bam play where I caught it and I was hit before I was actually able to make a move,” said Scott. “But really, I've been hit harder than that. It was good. I honestly felt like it was good to experience it, to feel it.
“I was able to show that I can secure the catch, regardless of the hit, get back up and keep going. Hopefully, that helps me out on film a little bit."
VIDEO: Scott talks about trying to earn a spot with the Eagles
Scott is no stranger from having to scratch and claw his way up a depth chart.
He walked on at Louisiana Tech after winning a state powerlifting championship in high school, and if there is one real physical difference between Scott and Sproles it’s the arms that hang like tree trunks from Scott’s jersey sleeves. The size of those arms probably accounts for the 10-pound weight advantage the 200-pound Scott has on Sproles.
Now Scott must climb his way up the Eagles’ depth chart, one made deeper by Sproles.
“All throughout my career I started at the bottom of the depth chart, so that’s really never fazed me, that’s never really discouraged me,” said Scott. “They gotta beat me, that’s just what it is and that’s how you have to approach it every day.”
Scott and Sproles are close friends, a bond formed when they worked out together two years in San Diego when Scott was a practice squad member of the New Orleans Saints.
They talked practically every day in the spring, so Scott has no animosity whatsoever toward Sproles.
“I’m at peace and he would feel the same way, too,” said Scott. “We’re all out here to compete. I think highly of myself and I think that’s how you have to carry yourself coming into the league, and he thinks very highly of himself.
“He’s an incredible player, but there’s going to be some competition. That’s all there is to it. So I’m looking forward to learning from him, I’m looking forward to playing beside him, whatever that role is, I’m looking forward to it. We’re out here to compete, we have to make each other better.”
Sproles is helping Scott learn how to return punts, a role Scott worked in on Saturday along with Sproles, DeSean Jackson, and Donnel Pumphrey.
“It’s hard to replace or say no to the sixth overall all-time purpose yards leader in the world, so I’m just really looking forward to learning from him,” said Scott. “Every single catch, he’s coaching me up, giving me advice on what to do, what not to do, so whatever that role is for me I’m just ready to contribute what they want. I’m looking forward to learning from him.”
Even if he learns everything Sproles and the coaches teach him, it still may not be enough to make a roster that includes running back locks Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders with stout competition from holdovers Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams.
But there is plenty of summer left to make it happen, and Scott certainly knows how to do it.
“We haven’t done any of the math yet in terms of making the final roster, so he’s got every opportunity to come out here and compete,” said offensive coordinator Mike Groh on Saturday. “Made a great catch, took a big shot on the sideline, held on to the football, came in and had a run there at the end of practice so you can see the skillset that the guy’s got.
"It’s evident. We’re excited to continue to work him in there and see what he can do here in the preseason.”