In a draft class spilling over the brim with quality defensive tackles, especially at the top, a player like Mississippi State's Josh Boyd is very easily overlooked.
While not a player of Star Lotulelei—or Sharrif Floyd—quality, Boyd is still a high-motor, high-effort player who should be scheme versatile at the next level.
He's been productive in the SEC, too.
As a junior—while playing alongside 2012 first-round pick Fletcher Cox—Boyd delivered 5.5 sacks and eight tackles for losses. His numbers dipped without Cox around in 2012 (1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for losses), but Boyd is still in consideration as a mid-to-late round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
In the following slides, we'll present a few of Boyd's top collegiate highlights from his time at Mississippi State.
The mark of any NFL-caliber defensive lineman can be found in his ability to disengage from a blocker and make a play in the run game.
Facing Kentucky in 2012, Boyd makes such a play.
The Wildcats run a power run to the strong side, with Boyd occupying a one-on-one block as the 3-technique to the weak side. He fights the guard with his hands to create space. When the back cuts back to left of the pulling guard, Boyd is there to meet him head on and make the tackle.
Without much question, Boyd's performance against Kentucky was his finest of the 2012 season.
Following his run stuff, he successfully runs an outside stunt and sacks the quarterback in the third quarter.
Mississippi State shows blitz to the right side of the defense but backs off and then runs the stunt with Boyd and the defensive end. Boyd shoots outside of the tackle and wraps up the quarterback in the backfield.
Not every pressure has to create a sack. In fact, sometimes the end result is more preferable when a pressure causes a poor throw from the quarterback.
On this play, Boyd makes an athletic swim move to beat the guard and pressure the quarterback. Just as he's about to register a sack, the quarterback makes a hurried throw to the outside that is easily intercepted by cornerback Johnathan Banks.
Boyd delivered just 8.5 sacks during his collegiate career, but important pressures like these are rarely seen in the boxscore.
Productive defensive tackles at the next level need to have an array of attributes that help them create disruption.
On this play against the University of Georgia, Boyd sacks the quarterback using power and speed up the middle.
Not needing a stunt or fancy defensive look, Boyd powers past the block attempt of the guard. His closing speed allows him to wrap up the quarterback before he's able to get rid of the football.
Boyd's first career sack at Mississippi State was the by-product of impressive quickness and speed off of the football.
Against UAB in 2010, Boyd shoots the gap against the center and guard—leaving him a free alley to the quarterback. He then works back to football—after the quarterback steps up in the pocket—and delivers the sack on third down.
As a sophomore, Boyd would finish with 2.5 sacks.