Tajh Boyd Senior Bowl: Clemson QB's Draft Stock Continues to Plummet

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2014

USA Today

Tajh Boyd needed a strong Senior Bowl performance to get his stock headed back in the right direction. He didn't have it.

Boyd finished the end-of-the-season showcase by completing seven of 16 passes for 31 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. That is a measly 1.9 yards per pass. 

His draft stock now appears to be in a serious free fall. 

Consider that after his junior season, a year where he won ACC Player of the Year honors, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. had Boyd as his second-most draftable quarterback in the 2014 class. 

There is now a chance that Boyd doesn't hear his name called at all during the 2014 draft: 

In the Senior Bowl, Boyd was intercepted on the North's first drive. Not only was it a poor throw, but it was a poor decision: 

The problem for Boyd is that this Senior Bowl was especially important to his draft value. 

Boyd was insanely productive at Clemson. He threw for over 3,800 yards and more than 33 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons. The last two seasons, he completed at least 67 percent of his passes. 

Putting up these kinds of big-time numbers at a college with the profile of Clemson is almost a guaranteed ticket into the draft. With Boyd, however, there were questions regarding how much of his success was built around the fact that he has been working with an insanely productive receiving corps. 

Among others, Boyd has been working with wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. 

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03:  (L-R) Sammy Watkins #2, head coach Dabo Swinney and Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers celebrate after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gard
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This has given him plenty of open targets over the years and receivers who could handle Boyd's inaccuracy. 

DraftInsider.net analyst Tony Pauline, after he authored the above tweet, also has his own take on Boyd. The Post and Courier's Aaron Brenner passed along this Pauline quote from a recent radio show appearance: 

I'm not talking statistical accuracy. What I'm talking about is he makes his receivers work too hard to catch the ball. In basically pitch-and-catch drills, where he was asked to throw the deep out, the ball was sailing over receiver's heads, they were adjusting backwards to make the reception, they had to leave their feet. They were all off-balance because he can't hit them in stride.

Boyd did nothing to ease these concerns during the Senior Bowl. He wasn't just failing to hit receivers in stride, he was failing to throw it anywhere near them on a few occasions. 

This performance wasn't all that shocking considering that it sounded like Boyd was erratic in the practices leading up to the game: 

Boyd has displayed a fantastic attitude about his drop in perceived draft value. 

Brenner passed along this quote, which was prior to the Senior Bowl, from Boyd on the quarterback's decision to come back for his senior season: 

Maybe I did lose some money. Maybe I didn't. At this level, as you go through life, one of the biggest things you don't want to deal with is regret. I don't want to wonder what could have happened. I didn't leave this university with unanswered questions. So in that regard, I think I made the perfect decision.

After the Senior Bowl, Boyd may not have just cost himself the chance to earn a lucrative contract in the NFL, but a chance of playing in the league at all. 

Of course, Boyd could come out and wow scouts at the combine or in workouts—he certainly has the arm strength teams are looking for. 

Still, after his poor showing in the Senior Bowl, Boyd is going to have to work hard to change the perception scouts have of him.