The last time we spoke to former Texas-Tech Red Raider, Tyler Scalzi, he had just begun his journey in this years Draft process. A little known prospect from a well known program, Tyler found himself on a new road in life, one that would eventually be filled with more ups than downs, a hectic media blitz and a rise in national fame.
Speaking to him over a month ago, we came into the conversation impressed with both his physical ability and versatility…but walked away from it enamored with his humbled approach and work ethic.
“I just want to do whatever it takes to make sure my team and my new city wins a lot of games. I have always been hungry for more and that will never change.”
Built like he was made in a laboratory, his 6’4, 235 lbs, frame speaks for itself. What is so impressive about the big body prospect was how athletic he seemed to be on tape. He further cemented that during his pro-day.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock told us how he views Scalzi’s fit at the next level:
“Scalzi is one of those kids who sticks out for so many things.” Mayock said. “He is built well, big, strong, but what you love about his tape,is how well he moves. He is a guy without a set position and that is a good thing because he can play tight end, fullback,and block his butt off, but still talented enough to go out there and make a play in the passing game. He has soft hands, good speed, is clean in his running and he can play special teams, all four cores. He could be a Linebacker, he would make plays on defense, he can cover…the kid can really play football.”
When the whole process started, Scalzi knew it would be an uphill battle. One that he had no problem facing. He also understood the great position he was in, as he was one of the skilled players who would be invited to work out with QB Patrick Mahomes (Texas-Tech). Mahomes saw his stock rising drastically and was invited to workout for multiple teams, but Scalzi also benefitted from these opportunities. Talking to scouts from three different organizations (Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, New York Jets), you get a sense that teams came to see the QB, but left equally, if not more impressed with the versatile prospect.
“Coming away from his pro-day, you get to really see his skill set. He can be someone you plug and play in a few different spots. The kid can play, he is big, strong, and a lot more athletic than you think when you see him up close.” (Texans scout)
“Yeah, watching up close, you begin to get the wheels churning on all the things you can do with him. He is a guy who will be a special teams stand out. He will give you true value in the offense, he can make all the blocks, he has good hands and when I saw him in person, I couldn’t believe how well he ran routes. What was impressive about it, was he is so new at doing this, well at least from the tape I have seen. The kid is given a task, learns a new spot, and flourishes. He does it well, you can see the potential in him.” (Jets Scout)
“Anytime a player can do multiple things, we are paying attention. We value versatility and that is what he brings. It is no secret by now that guys who can do more, stay around longer. I liked what I saw from him and loved looking at tape on him. He is a guy that whatever city he ends up in, whatever roster it is….he will be a difference maker and a fan favorite.” (Eagles Scout)
In a few days, the lives of hundreds of College prospects will be changed forever. With the 2017 NFL draft rapidly approaching, physicals are out of the way, 40-yard dashes have been run, and players have been evaluated. All that’s left to do, from now until April 27th, is sit and patiently wait. We sat down one last time with Tyler, to ask him about the process up until now.
“Up until now, it has been crazy..but I love the process. I have learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about people, but what I took away from all of it, is to be consistent. I knew going into it all that I had a long road, and I know it will be another long road when I get on a roster…but this is where I shine. When you are expected to work hard, I love it, I really do….going out there and working out in front of these scouts, all these teams. It has been a dream come true for me. I love football, I love the game, so being able to be here in this position, I have soaked it all up.
I have been going and going, but I have enjoyed every moment. Being able to go out there and catch passes from Pat (Mahomes), being able to be a part of the script has been huge for me. Learning something new everyday, as far as on the field, has really been the best thing for me. Now I can do more for a roster, and I think scouts leave these work outs knowing that.
I said it to you before, I will do what it takes to help my team, and that is what this whole process has been about to me. Learning and getting better, as a player, and as a person, to be the best version of myself , is what it’s all about to me. When I get on a team, I am going to bring that to the locker room, and on the field.”
One thing that goes unsaid is while most fans are looking for a big name prospect to win games..scouts are looking for players that you can build a championship with. Players who will give them 10 great seasons of football, and that in a nutshell, is Tyler Scalzi.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports