By Ed McGranahan.
By Ed McGranahan
Unlikely nobody’s been more critical of Tajh Boyd over the past year than Tajh Boyd, but it’s never born of malice or an absence of belief in his ability to prove he can be a valuable pro.
In reading reports from Senior Bowl practice the first two days it’s evident there’s no consensus, though their observations sound familiar to anybody who spent time evaluating him.
Daniel Jeremiah, a scout for three NFL teams in his career, told NFL.com that Boyd could secure a spot in the second round with a good week in Mobile, Ala. Yet then it becomes a question of who’s determining if it’s a good week?
Based on reports by Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc., and Dane Brugler for CBS.com, Boyd has been inconsistent and erratic the first two days.
“Boyd continues to be unimpressive, largely because of his accuracy issues,” wrote Brugler after Tuesday morning’s workout. “He slings the ball from wild arm angles and sometimes the ball would arrive on time and hit the receiver in the hands, but there were too many other passes that were off the mark and really caused the intended target to do most of the work.”
“The limitations of Clemson’s Tajh Boyd continue to jump out in terms of his consistency with reads and accuracy from inside the pocket,” McShay wrote for ESPN.
Jeremiah, a scout for Philadelphia, Cleveland and Baltimore during his career, picked at a technical issue.
“One thing that I struggle with is when he needs to shuffle, reset his feet, when he gets pushed off his mark, decision making and accuracy takes a tumble,” he said on NFL Network. Yet he praised Boyd’s running near the goal line, characterizing him as “mini Steve McNair out there.”
“He’s tough to get down on the ground,” he said, “there’s a lot of elements of his game to like.”
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said that contrary to Brugler’s critique, he likes Boyd’s ability to change his arm angle “to fit it through defenders.”
Everybody still wastes a great deal of energy poor-mouthing Boyd’s size, though Jeremiah believes, “his inconsistency and accuracy — that’s what’s going to be holding him back more than his size.”
Mayock compared him – ironically – to former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith whom the Baltimore Ravens drafted when Mayock was on the staff. Ironically, at the time Smith was Boyd’s favorite player.
“I think (Boyd) is a little more accurate than Troy was,” he said. “Troy, even when things were clean at times, could get erratic. When you see Tajh Boyd with time, and he can be in rhythm, he can sling it.”
Curiously, for all the money and time and technology invested in evaluating talent, the NFL hasn’t changed a great deal. The metrics are outdated yet they still rely almost solely on the eye test to determine a player’s worth.
Coaches, scouts, owners often have different agendas and sometimes one team’s garbage is another’s treasure.
When Drew Brees was drafted in the second round by San Diego it was because he was too short and there were questions about his arm strength. Eventually he was pushed out of the organization by Philip Rivers and sentenced to life in New Orleans.
Tough duty, that.
Another season the Atlanta Falcons’ brass drafted a quarterback in the first round the coach refused to play so he threw four passes all season. The first was intercepted and return for a touchdown. After the season the quarterback was shipped from the sunny south to the frozen tundra where the GM there wanted him a year earlier when he worked for the Jets.
A physical revealed a hip condition similar to the one that ended Bo Jackson’s football and baseball careers, but Ron Wolf overruled the physicians and kept Brett Favre.
After watching Boyd for three years it’s evident there’s work to be done, but those things can be fixed because he’s willing, eager and capable, plus he should be a great teammate.
His height is an excuse because, frankly, there are no assurances one way or another.
Ryan Leaf anybody?