Sometimes the best quarterbacks are the ones with a chip on their shoulder. Tajh Boyd seems destined to be one of those players.
The Clemson quarterback put up huge numbers throughout his college career, topping 3,800 yards and 30 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons. He also showed great athleticism to rush for 1,129 yards and 25 touchdowns in that stretch.
He finished his career with 32 wins, tying Rodney Williams for the most in school history. This included wins over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
Unfortunately, he has generally failed to impress NFL scouts during the past few months and his stock in the draft continues to fall. The quarterback struggled at the Senior Bowl and did not improve much at the combine. Michael Marot of the Associated Press (h/t Lexington Herald-Leader) gave his assessment:
Boyd was timed at 4.84 seconds in the 40-yard dash, finishing ahead of eight of the 16 quarterbacks who ran Sunday, and looked inaccurate during the throwing part of the workouts. He'll need a much better showing at Clemson's pro day to restore some of the luster that was lost after he returned to school for his final college season.
Prior to the combine, CBSSports.com had Boyd listed as the No. 13 quarterback in the class and unlikely be selected before the seventh round. This rating might even be worse in the next update.
However, he is not allowing any of this negativity to affect him. According to Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courier, he believes the Senior Bowl was just a fluke compared to his overall career:
Peter Schrager of Fox Sports also points out that not everyone believed the performance was something to forget:
Interestingly, the playmaker has no regret about throwing at the combine. In fact, he told ESPN's Josina Anderson that he was actually disappointed some of the bigger names decided against it:
Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel decided to wait until their pro days to showcase their throwing ability. While their talent might have made Boyd look even worse by comparison, you have to love the quarterback's competitiveness.
No matter the situation, Boyd always wants to go out and win. Whether this is part of a team or just individually, he always has that competitive spirit. This is a good thing that will help him at the next level.
While the quarterback is a bit undersized and lacks consistent accuracy, much of what makes NFL players successful is what happens between the ears. The mental aspect of playing the position is key and he has the intelligence and toughness needed to be a leader for whichever team is fortunate enough to draft him.
Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler is one person who believes Boyd could be successful depending on where he ends up being drafted:
I think Tajh Boyd would be a good fit.
He’s shown some running ability, has the downfield arm; needs to work on his mechanics especially on quick, underneath routes.
He seems to have the physical attributes that fit with what the 49ers have done (at quarterback).
Adding in his physical skill set and willingness to compete, Boyd has plenty of potential in the NFL. At the very least, he could be a formidable backup who can come in for short doses and help his team win games.
All that is really needed at this point is an opportunity. While some might think Boyd can go undrafted, chances are greater that someone will be willing to take a chance in one of the later rounds.
Whichever organization is smart enough to grab him will get a quality player that will only get better and could truly make an impact down the line.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.