Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson quarterbackTajh Boyd
speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Usually when you want to write a blog about a player A, the normal routine is you include that players positives, and weigh them against the negatives. Sometimes however, you just want to write about your favorite player. One of my favorite players in this year’s draft hands down is Tajh Boyd, quarterback of Clemson. Make no mistake, I won’t say he’s the best quarterback, but for quality of watching a football game, I think Boyd is more fun to watch on Saturdays than Johnny Manziel, or any other for that matter.
I’ll start with what I like about the guy. Boyd played high school football for his entire senior year with a torn ACL, and won a state championship. That to me shows a love for the game that, I can’t find in other guys. He then chose Clemson over higher ranked schools like Oregon and Ohio State. Boyd’s started for three straight years, and improved every single year in completion percentage, passing yardage, touchdowns, and touchdown to interception ratio. He’s probably won more games than any of the top names in the draft including Manziel, Bortles, Bridgewater, Carr. I’d have to go back and check, but he’s in the 30+ win column. I also don’t think I’ve seen anyone with more of a desire to win than this guy. I’m going to take you through a video and show you why.
This is the 2013 Chick-Fil-A Bow between LSU and Clemson. I loved this game so much I had to go back and take a few notes. I’m going to highlight a few of the reasons he’s not the best, but also the reason he’s a guy you want on your team.
The LSU defense you see in this video has 1st round talents Eric Reid, Barkevious Mingo, 2nd round talents Kevin Minter and Benny Logan, and 3rd round picks like Sam Montgomery. Also playing in that game is this year’s top five safety Craig Loston.
Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) runs with the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half of the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game at Sun Life Stadium. The Tigers won 40-35. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
I went back and counted 22 times that Boyd was tackled. Half of those coming after being flushed from the pocket. 22 hits. I counted another eight big hits on him. That’s 30 times being knocked to the ground in one game. The guy gets up and keeps going and has durability that you wouldn’t believe.
I’ve heard scouts say Tajh Boyd scatters, or sprays balls all over the field, and has no accuracy. To this I say look at the ball placement he shows while rolling out of the pocket or sitting in the pocket at the 2:25, 4:45, 9:09, 13:22, and 15:15 minute marks in this video. That’s five great passes in one game where the guy got knocked around 30 times, and placed a ball on the hands of a receiver often with a helmet in his face.
He’s too short at 6’1, and too fat at 225-230 pounds. He lost 20 pounds before the 2012 season to produce that 3900 yard, 36 touchdown season. That is dedication to your craft. Oh, by the way, look at the 5:07, and 12:05 minute mark to show improvisation in getting the ball out to a receiver. Height is not an issue, with that type of improv ability.
I could show you a lot more, but I think this one game epitomizes Tajh Boyd. Unfortunately, his draft stock has fallen from 2nd or 3rd round, all the way to 7th round-free agent. I attribute this to a poor Senior Bowl week, and scouts not giving him the blessing that they give 6’4, signal callers. As recently as this week I saw a quarterback named Tom Savage move up draft boards from the 6th round, to the 2nd or 3rd. It astounds me that a quarterback that has played for Rutgers, Arizona, and Pittsburgh and never had the level of success, has been pushed up draft boards, while another player that has played with pain, has been a leader, and has improved consistently while WINNING games has continued to slide. To me Tajh Boyd has a little bit of Russell Wilson in him, and a little bit of Brett Favre in him. He makes bad plays, he’s not always accurate, but he can scramble around and turn difficult bad passes into completions, and he’s the best leader in college football I’ve seen. Quarterbacks are taught that, you either have it or you don’t. Boyd has the arm strength, the intelligence, the leadership, the experience to be a great quarterback at the next level. Watch the converted 1st down on a 4th and long with one minute to go in that bowl game if you don’t believe me. Players rally behind him, and it will be no different in the NFL.
As I’m a Jets fan, I can see no reason for the Jets to let him go undrafted. If he’s available in round 7, I think it thoroughly behooves the Jets to draft Boyd. He plays in an option offense, and has a similar skill set to Geno Smith and Vick. While Michael Vick will probably be gone after 2014, I think Boyd is a backup option that can hold the 2nd QB spot for a decade if Geno Smith pans out. He’s also a 7th late rounder that can push Smith without the pressure of looking over his shoulder from a higher drafted QB. Lastly, when all is said and done, any team that drafts him in May, might be able to flip him for a 2nd or 3rd round pick in two or three years.