Trevor Scott entered the NFL last season as an undersized defensive end who was a sixth-round pick out of lightly regarded Buffalo.
When Scott took the field at practice for the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday, he was the veteran defensive end on the starting unit.
With former Pro Bowler Derrick Burgess staying away from the offseason workouts and Jay Richardson watching with a knee injury, Scott has gone from a project to a player counted on to produce this season for the Raiders.
"My comfort level is so much higher. I'm not out here searching, feeling my way around with things," he said. "I don't have that mindset of, 'Oh man, I'm in the NFL now. These guys are great.' They are great, but I feel like I'm great too. I'm trying to start this season. I want to make an immediate impact and play my butt off."
Scott made an impact his rookie season, tying for the team lead with five sacks, including the first two of his career against Brett Favre. Used primarily as a pass-rush specialist as a rookie, Scott spent this offseason bulking up to play the run, adding about 10 pounds of muscle and now weighs 258 pounds.
"I went home in the offseason and I really hit the weights hard because I knew that was one of my biggest things," he said. "I can run fast but I really want to hone in on my run game because I want to be out making tackles. I love tackling, too. I just don't want to be looked at as, 'Trevor's out there, pass rush.' I want to be that complete D-end that can do both."
The results are showing up on the field in the offseason practices. Scott has been one of the most impressive defenders so far, although the work has all been without pads.
"He's a guy who's jumped out at us and really made his presence felt from the first minicamp practice through today, continues to play both the run and pass well," coach Tom Cable said. "He's at the right size in terms of where he needs to be weight-wise. His strength is good. I think he's where he needs to be. Now it's just to learn to play the game every down."
Scott could get that chance because of the uncertainty surrounding Burgess' future in Oakland. Burgess, who is in the final year of his contract, has been unhappy about the deal that would pay him a $2 million base salary this season.
The Raiders have shown no interest so far in renegotiating or extending the deal.
Burgess, who turns 31 in August, had 27 sacks his first two seasons in Oakland before dropping off to 11 1/2 while dealing with injuries the past two seasons.
Burgess did not practice at the mandatory minicamp earlier this month because of a stomach ailment. He then missed this week's voluntary organized team activities, although he has done that in recent years as well.
The Raiders have talked to other teams about a trade for Burgess, with the Patriots reportedly willing to offer a second or third-round pick.
"We get inquiries all the time about players and this football team. That one was kind of a surprise," Cable said. "There was some talk during the draft obviously. People inquire about players on this team all the time. So we listen to everything."
Scott tries to tune out all that talk even if a trade would open up a starting spot for him on Oakland's defensive line. Although Scott is primarily a pass rusher now, if Burgess were traded, the Raiders could move Richardson to the left side and open up a spot at right defensive end.
"I haven't really been paying attention to what's going on," Scott said. "I heard a bunch of hearsay but that's all it is right now. It's just speculation. Only Derrick really knows what's going on. I try to stay away from that and let him figure things out."
If Burgess leaves Oakland, that could also open up opportunities for rookies Matt Shaughnessy and Stryker Sulak, who are where Scott was at this time last season.
"We're young but come Sundays it doesn't matter," Scott said. "You don't have time to be young. You need to step up and grow up real quick. That's what I'm trying to do."
Notes:@ WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and S Mike Mitchell were absent because of an NFL rule prohibiting rookies from participating in OTAs before school is out of session. ... Among the other players not attending the voluntary workout were CBs Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson and QB Andrew Walter.