Scooby Wright III, ILB
People have been throwing a ton of shade in the direction of Scooby.
I’ve seen commenters, writers, pundits, and draftniks bash him and all but call for teams to not even consider him; for whatever reason, people don’t want this guy.
Sure, his 2015 season wasn’t awe-inspiring, but he isn’t some slouch. He did much better in 2014, producing a season that some consider the most productive EVER by a linebacker, and it isn’t like that talent just disappeared in an instant.
He is high on passion and combines that with hard-to-find instinctual abilities on the field. He is always active and plays with his hair on fire. That activeness sees him moving quickly to his designated target. His timing tends to be on-point, and that especially shows in both the running game and blazing through gaps on blitzes. He also does well in working around blocks in a multitude of ways.
Still, the detractors do have some cogent points regarding him that could be worth a decent portion of their worries.
His athleticism is average, which doesn’t bode well. He doesn’t bend well, which sets him up poorly in trying to find consistent leverage. He can stiffen up when going for tackles; that can be exploited by someone adept at changing direction or hitting another gear.
Even his strengths can be turned against him. His instincts are strong in general, but relying too often on them can find him guessing wrong at times; with his limited athletic prowess, he can’t recover in time to make a positive impact. That competitive fire of his can burn too bright at times too; unharnessed energy can cause whiffs and set him in unenviable positions where he can be exploited.
That is a sizable list of problems, but it isn’t as if these will automatically be a death-knell. For the most part, these problems can be mitigated and improved upon with further experience and good coaching.
Guessing too often? Once he sees and experiences these situations more through practice and film sessions, he can cut down on those problems. This can take the already-strong instincts he possesses and allow him to put them to effective use more often.
His passion running too wild? Again, more time in game situations will allow him to feel more comfortable, which will allow that passion to be more positively used.
Of course, he can’t exactly redact his physical limitations, but there are numerous guys in the league who find ways to overcome those kind of problems and still be productive.
A comparison I’ve seen for him is former Dolphins LB Zach Thomas, and Thomas definitely had many of these same problems but was notably still a long-term starter that fans league-wide knew more for the positives he brought to the table than what he couldn’t do.
Players as fiery and competitive as Scooby tend to be some of the best bets to be willing to go through the necessary extra effort to reach their ceilings; even if that ceiling is lower than others, that effort matters, and it usually finds a way to show itself on the field in a positive manner.
Whether or not people necessarily want him right now in theory, I guarantee those same people won’t be complaining a bit if they see him passionately flying around the field in their team’s colors.
They’ll gladly take the bad with the good — especially when the good is addictingly fun to watch.
Next: The future at tight end?