Quarterback is among the weaknesses on the New York Jets' roster, but that wasn't enough to save the job of Tajh Boyd. The Jets announced their release of the former Clemson star Saturday as part of their final roster cuts:
Boyd was a sixth-round pick (No. 213 overall) in May's draft. While among the most accomplished players in Clemson football history, the move was largely expected. Boyd lost a battle with Matt Simms for the Jets' third quarterback spot and played minimally throughout the preseason. Appearing in two games, he completed only eight of 17 passes for 98 yards.
“That’s the thing, you really never know what to expect out of college,” Boyd told reporters of his transition. “You have this perception, it’s like when you play video games right? You’ve got your guys there from college, you trade them over to Madden and their ratings drop a little bit. But it’s actually that big of a leap.”
With teams forced to make their 53-man roster cuts by 4 p.m. ET Saturday, the odds of Boyd making the team were decidedly slim. Geno Smith and Michael Vick were locks, and Simms got the start in New York's final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Like all players released Saturday, Boyd will be subject to waivers. Though unlikely, a team could pick him up and add him to their 53-man roster as a long-term project. Boyd also has the option of joining the Jets' or another team's practice squad, which seems like the far more likely outcome.
Being a practice squad player will prove quite the downturn for Boyd, who has been among college football's biggest stars the last three seasons. At Clemson, he set school records for passing yards and touchdowns while spearheading the Tigers' rise to national prominence.
Boyd led Clemson to two BCS bowl games, including a 40-35 Orange Bowl win over Ohio State as a senior. He accumulated over 500 yards and scored six total touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) and set an Orange Bowl record for total yards in the victory.
Expected by most to be a mid-round pick, Boyd fell to the sixth round amid concerns about his size and his ability to translate to the NFL game. It will be interesting to see what (if any) opportunities he receives from other teams. Boyd is a unique player whose skill set might not translate the best to the practice squad, where teams rely on low-cost young players to replicate opponents' star players.
Likewise, it's a concerning sign that Boyd could not beat out Simms, who seems to have won over the coaches with his intelligence and pocket presence. That Jets coach Rex Ryan advocated for Boyd on draft day and he still failed to make the roster is another eye-opening sign.
“Dang, Tajh you’re a better player than that,” Ryan told reporters after Boyd's debut. “We just have to get him going. Come on kid, I’ve seen you play way better than that.”
Given his talent and collegiate resume, odds are Boyd gets a shot on some team's practice squad. There are enough dual-threat quarterbacks in football now to justify his presence; it might be wise for either Arizona or St. Louis to pick him up as preparation for Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
But those who saw Boyd at Clemson and expected him to overcome the pre-draft concerns are seemingly on their way to being disappointed.
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