Sixth Round: 192nd Pick
Oregon has become a team known for its offense, but guys like John Boyett, along with Dion Jordan and Kiko Alonso, remind everyone that the Ducks play tough defense as well.
Boyett came to Oregon as a dual-threat quarterback and hard-nosed safety. He was a heavily recruited player out of high school who made an immediate impact as a redshirt freshman, leading the team in tackles.
But he's had a number of serious injuries over his career, and he'll have to prove to NFL teams that he's healthy enough to take a shot on.
+ Intimidating hitter
+ Plays with a chip on his shoulder
+ Extremely good instincts
+ Very strong upper body strength
- Lacks optimal height and length for a safety
- Straight-line speed is below average
- Can be overly aggressive at times
- Serious knee problems
Boyett checks in at about 5'10", 204 lbs. with short 30 1/2" arms. He is short and stocky, built more like a fullback than a safety. He could only bench at the combine, but put up an extremely impressive 27 reps.
He worked out for eight NFL teams on April 10th, and was clocked at a 4.57 40 yard dash. For what it's worth, Boyett led all Oregon defensive backs during winter conditioning for the 2011 season with a 3.91 shuttle and finished second in the power clean and squat, which he did at 314 and 415 pounds, respectively.
Boyett is known as a hard working kid who plays with a real edge on the field. He has the kind of football instincts you can't teach--he just anticipates where the ball will be and goes all-out to get to that spot.
But his injuries are a major issue. Boyett underwent surgery for partial tears in patella tendons in both of his knees which caused him to miss almost the entire 2012 season. Boyett had played through the pain of the injury during the year prior, but wanted to get the tears fixed for his NFL future.
Boyett can thrive in any type of zone coverage scheme. He played a lot of it at Oregon, and it's obvious that he is much more effective there when he can roam and use his instincts to overcome for his height and speed deficiencies.
Boyett anticipates routes well and can read the quarterback as well as any other defensive back coming out of college. He often jumps in and breaks up a pass out of nowhere, or gets to a spot to bail out a teammate and make a touchdown-saving tackle.
He doesn't have a great vertical, and that combined with his height and short arms makes him a liability on jump balls. But he can be physical with bigger receivers, and uses his hands well to keep the receiver off-balance.
Against the Run
This is another aspect where Boyett is very strong. He diagnoses the play quickly and is shockingly quick at getting to the ball, which says a lot about his instincts and preparation, because his natural acceleration and speed is slower than how it often appears.
He can occasionally get caught too high when he pursues too hard and lets the running back cut past him. He does shed blocks well though, and can sometimes make up for his bad angle.
Check out the play in the video below at the 0:44 mark, when Boyett blows up Stanford's guard and then still manages to reach over and pull down future NFL running back Stepfan Taylor.
Boyett is not so much a tackler as he is a hitter. He has unleashed some vicious hits during his time at Oregon, and receivers definitely think twice before coming across the middle in his direction. He can have a tendency to hit high, however, and attack defenseless receivers, which will get him into trouble in the NFL.
When he needs to, he wraps up fairly well, although he sometimes will get himself out of position by trying to lay out a receiver with a big hit. But his motor never stops, and he'll always try to disrupt the ball-carrier however he can.
In the video above, also check out the hit at 0:21, just one example of many from Boyett where he teeters on the line of vicious and illegal.
Potential NFL Role
If he's healthy, Boyett could absolutely find himself competing for a spot on a team that plays a lot of zone coverage.
6th or 7th round