In 2012 Russell Wilson Jr. came out of nowhere to win the starting job for the Seahawks, and then took them to the playoffs for two straight seasons. Being a third round draft pick and slightly undersized at 5’11 at most, a lot of teams (Jets included) passed on this guy. If the draft were re-done from 2012 how many teams would take Wilson earlier now? The 2014 draft has another quarterback that is getting the same treatment, and I’m going to give you all the reasons he shouldn’t. Tajh Boyd from Clemson, will be the next big quarterback. Not Tom Brady big, but passing on him would be ignorant big.
Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) carries the ball during the first half in the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Boyd is currently sitting anywhere from the 7th rated quarterback, to the 12th rated quarterback on scouting websites. All he has done is improve on every major statistical category for four straight seasons. Clemson improved in wins from 6-7, to 10-4, to 11-2 the past 2 seasons. Boyd improved from 52% passing as a freshman steadily to 68.5% completion ration as a senior. He has to his credit 40 starts, with 32 wins the last three seasons alone. He’s thrown for 11,575 yards with 103 TD’s against 36 INT’s in that time. Still he is only rated as a 3rd rounder on some boards, or a 4th rounder on others.
Just like Wilson two years ago who I wrote about here , Boyd is getting low-balled as scouts and fans seem to skip over the proven passers in favor of the one year wonders, or “potential” guys. Now I when I hear names like David Fales, Derek Carr, or Blake Bortles, I wonder why the best ACC quarterback can’t get any love. Again I’m seeing a guy’s stock lowered because he is barely 6’1 and has had the bad fortune of playing four years of football get devalued over players that are coming out early.
Very quickly I want to compare Tajh Boyd to Geno Smith. Geno, as we all know had NFL talented Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and a very similar offensive scheme. WV runs an Air-Raid derivative offense which is basically a shotgun with spread lineman. Clemson runs a spread offense with a lot of shotgun. The offenses are similar, and Boyd has Sammy Watkins, where Smith had Austin and Bailey. All Boyd has done is win more games, put up more points, against tougher competition than Geno Smith that finished his college career only 7-6. The similarities in spreading the offense, using option, crossing routes, and screen passes to receivers are very similar for both quarterbacks.
There are so many positives to Boyd’s game, that I can’t even name them all. He has intangibles that other college QB’s simply don’t have. Look at how many times he sets up receivers with play action, or pump fakes, or roll outs to commit the defense. Look at the video of the accuracy while he’s moving to fit the ball into tight spots, and the arm strength he shows. The things he does to set up the pass are just as good as the actual pass he throws, and that is why he will be successful. When you add that up to the fact that the program has grown as he has grown, is a testament to the type of future he’s got.
Keep in mind one thing that we have heard as soon as the season ended. Geno Smith will have competition at the QB position to keep his job. GM John Idzik has stated it multiple times. Competition does not necessarily have to mean from a veteran, it just means from a player capable of taking Smith’s job. Before anyone suggests that it wouldn’t make sense to draft a rookie quarterback this year after Idzik drafted his guy last year in Smith, consider these two things. Idzik was involved in drafting Russell Wilson, who I think Boyd is very similar to last year. Also consider the Washington Redskins who drafted Robert Griffin in the 1st round and Kirk Cousins in the 4th round. Cousins could now fetch a 2nd round draft pick or better. It’s just good business. Boyd can push Smith, take his job, be traded later for a high draft pick, or be a solid back up.
My initial mock draft I had the Jets grabbing receivers in rounds 2 and 3. If we see a veteran receiver signed I would like to amend that mock draft. I would not be shocked in any way to see the Jets draft Tajh Boyd with the 1st of their two 3rd round draft picks. I would also not be shocked to see Boyd drafted in the 1st or 2nd round if he has a great Senior Bowl game, good practices, followed by a good combine, pro day, etc. Regardless of where his is drafted or what team, you will hear his name mentioned a lot when September rolls around next season.