Tajh Boyd Needs Strong Showing at Pro Day to Resurrect Draft Stock

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 26, 2014

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd throws during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Tajh Boyd has a tantalizing skill set, but his flaws are slowly starting to outweigh his strengths. 

First, let's rewind a little bit. 

It's the last day of 2012. Clemson is trailing defensive stalwart and SEC mainstay LSU, 24-22, with under two minutes remaining in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. But Boyd, who had narrowed the deficit the drive earlier with a 77-yard touchdown march, calmly leads his Tigers right down the field to set up a game-winning field goal. 

Boyd finished that game with 346 yards through the air on 72.0 percent passing, three total touchdowns and a first-round draft stock.

His elusiveness inside and outside of the pocket, his ability to make plays with his legs and his strong arm had the nation captivated. 

But the junior returned to school, struggled against Florida State on national television and had a couple of other inconsistent outings as the hype train slowed its pace considerably. 

At the Senior Bowl, he struggled immensely with his accuracy and timing, and his stock continued to plummet. CBS Sports' Dane Brugler and a Green Bay Packers scout, per DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline, both wondered if he would even be drafted:

That may be going a little overboard. Quarterbacks are always in demand and Boyd's traits will be too difficult to pass up. Still, it speaks volumes about how he's currently regarded. 

CBS Sports ranks the former Clemson star as the No. 13 quarterback, ESPN's Scout Inc (subscription needed) puts him at No. 9 and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has him at No. 8.

Nevertheless, he entered the combine confident in his ability, per the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, and The Post and Courier's Aaron Brenner:

I feel that I'm the best quarterback in this draft. I'm not just going to sit up here and say it, there's obviously actions that have to back up these words. I'm just going to go out there and prove that I'm the best guy.

I'm confident in my abilities. Game tape doesn't lie. You can refer to the Senior Bowl if you want, but that doesn't take the place of three years.

In Indianapolis, though, his draft stock pretty much remained level. Boyd displayed his athleticism with a solid 4.75 40-yard dash, which was fourth among quarterbacks. Unlike several other QB's, he also chose to throw for scouts, receiving mixed reviews in that category. 

The Associated Press said he looked inaccurate, but the National Football Post's Dion Caputi was impressed with Boyd on short and intermediate throws, something he has struggled with in the past:

All that's left now is his pro day. 

Boyd has the wheels. He has the elusive, playmaking ability. He has the arm strength. But before the draft, he needs to give NFL teams a lasting look at some improved accuracy and timing. 

Otherwise, he may be waiting a long time to hear his name called.