Scooby Wright left the University of Arizona as one of the most decorated and accomplished linebackers the school has ever had.
His 2014 campaign was one for the record books, as he posted 163 total tackles, 14 sacks and 29 tackles for loss while also forcing six fumbles and recovering one. He was a unanimous All-American and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and he won the Bronko Nagurski Torphy, Rotary Lombardi Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and the Jack Lambert Award.
In short, he was arguably the most dominant defensive player in the country.
Wright’s 2015 season did not go nearly as well, as a knee injury suffered in the season opener and then an ankle injury a month later in his first game back held him out of all but three games (with him only finishing one). Still, he felt good enough about his collegiate career to enter his name in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Opinions of Wright and his NFL future are mixed, though, with many seeming to doubt he has the size and athleticism to excel at the professional level.
Wright understands this, and in a piece for the Player’s Tribune, he stated his case to be drafted by NFL teams.
The linebacker wrote about how he has constantly been overlooked and doubted throughout his career, yet has always found a way to exceed expectations. That he is being questioned by NFL personnel almost seems right.
Honestly, I love it. It makes me stronger. What the doubters don’t realize is that they fuel my motor. And my motor is what’s going to make me a great NFL player. So I’m looking forward to joining your team, because I’ll have the opportunity to play against 31 other franchises who are going to be kicking themselves while we absolutely dominate.
Going on, Wright explains how he understands why talent evaluators may have been unimpressed with his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was clocked at 4.90 seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted 22 bench press reps, had a 31-inch vertical jump, a 113-inch broad jump and got through the 20-yard shuttle in 4.47 seconds.
Wright agrees with those who feel like he disappointed in Indianapolis, as he too feels like he could have done better. His goal that weekend, though, was to prove he was completely healed from the injuries that robbed him of his junior season in Tucson, and to that end he believes he succeeded.
Look, I’m a football player, plain and simple. Put me in sweats and ask me to run in circles around cones, and I’ll do an okay job. But put me in pads and ask me to lead your defense, and there’s a lot of evidence that I can help you win.
Later in the piece, Wright points to his vast responsibilities as the leader of Arizona’s defense as well as his ability to make big plays, like the game-clinching strip/sack of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in an upset victory.
Ultimately, Wright’s point is that some team is going to be thankful it took a chance on him. He will fill whatever role is asked of him, and going forward he still has plenty of areas in which he can (and will) improve.
I’m going to reach my full potential on someone’s team. I think it’s in your best interest to make sure that it’s yours.
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