If you’re concerned with the overall state of quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles, you may be aware by now that the 2013 NFL Draft isn’t exactly loaded with slam dunk first round talent at the position. Only a year after a draft that featured the likes of can’t-miss talents Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, it doesn’t appear such a sure thing exists in this year’s crop.
Scouts and draft experts are divided over the value of West Virgina quarterback Geno Smith. Smith put up outstanding numbers this season, completing 71.2 percent of his passes on his way to throwing for 4,201 yards and 42 touchdowns. Still, his team struggled after a hot start and there are some concerns about his ability to adapt into a pro style offense.
Meanwhile, USC’s Matt Barkley watched his stock fall after a disastrous season for the Trojans. Barkley put up solid numbers, but the senior who entered the year with preexisting concerns about his arm strength only added to those concerns after suffering a shoulder injury late in the year. As it stands now, it’s debatable if either player warrants a top pick.
Enter Clemson’s Tahj Boyd. The junior quarterback led the Tigers to an epic 25-24 comeback win last night over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Like Smith, Boyd plays in a high octane offense, one stocked with several playmakers, but unlike Smith he now has a signature win to his credit. The seventh-ranked LSU defense battered Boyd throughout much of the game, but the 6-1, 225-pound quarterback didn’t blink and led two late scoring drives in helping Clemson to the shocking win.
Boyd, who has another year of college eligibility remaining, was credited with 29 carries against LSU. After losing dynamic running back Sammy Watkins on his first carry of the game, Boyd took control of the Clemson offense. He finished the night completing 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns. His most impressive throw of the night came on a 12-yard touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins. Boyd threaded a laser of a pass into a tight window over the outstretched hands of a linebacker and closely blanketed Hopkins. It was the type of throw that will no doubt grab the attention of scouts across the NFL.
Boyd may elect to come back for his senior season, but after a signature win on New Year’s Eve it may be in Boyd’s best interest to declare for April’s draft. If he does, he also may find himself on the Eagles’ radar when they draft with the fourth overall pick.