A look at former Clemson Tiger quarterback Tajh Boyd and what he may do in the near future with his football career.
Tajh Boyd graduated from Clemson just a little over a year ago and has had tough luck in the National Football League so far. Boyd, the 6’1”, 222 pound quarterback, was drafted by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. He was later released by the Jets that August just before the season got under way.
Tajh found himself playing in the FXFL, or Fall Experimental Football League, with the Florida Blacktips and the Boston Brawlers. He performed rather well in those leagues and was later rewarded a shot at a tryout for the Detroit Lions. In March of 2015, He was offered a one-year deal with the Steelers to come and battle for a backup role in Pittsburgh.
During his time at Clemson, Boyd was considered one of the best to ever come through the football program. In his three years as a starter, he threw for over 3,800 yards each season and 30-plus touchdowns, as well. He led Clemson to a total of 32 wins over those three seasons, including wins over LSU in Chick-fila Bowl and Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
There is no question, when it comes to scouts, of Boyd’s arm strength and accuracy. What scouts have found as a problem so far is he is too short to make throws in the middle of the field and he sometimes does not look off defenders before throwing into a tight window. This leads to him being picked off or the pass be broken up. He certainly understands the concept of looking off defenders, he just must work harder on doing that and going through his progressions on each down.
The Pittsburgh quarterback roster includes Ben Roethlisberger, the unquestioned starter, and Bruce Gradkowski. Other than those two, Landry Jones is on the roster and Tajh must beat him to have a chance to remain on the roster. This begs the question, can Tajh Boyd play on the Steelers, or in the NFL in general?
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Tajh has the ability that most quarterbacks don’t have and that is the ability to be a power-runner. He needs to take advantage of his strong arm and running ability and take the third string spot, while competing for the two-deep position. He is clearly talented enough to make an NFL team and, hopefully, Pittsburgh will give him the chance to make a roster for the first time in his career.
Another option for Boyd may include the rule change that will go into effect this year in the NFL. The new rule will take the PAT attempt back to the 15-yard line and the Board of Executives are hoping this will tempt teams to go for two more often. To get two points, the team would have to get in the end zone from the two-yard line instead of kick the PAT from the 15 for just one point. So, what does this have to do with Tajh Boyd?
If the rule stays around long enough, teams may choose to devote a position to a “Two-Point Specialist.” This would be the quarterback for the two-point conversions, and possibly on 3rd and short circumstances. In his time at Clemson, Boyd consistently got first downs when the Tigers were put in 3rd down and two or 3rd down and three situations. This may prove to be a full-time job for him at the professional level because he could be a running threat, as well as a passing threat. Defenses would have to prepare to stop a 220+ pound big-bruiser from getting two yards and, just when they stack the box to stop him, he throws a floater to the corner of the end zone that way. Boyd certainly has the ability to do this job, should it become a position in the NFL, as well as be a backup quarterback at the same time.
If the NFL does not work out for Tajh, I personally would like to see him come back to Clemson as a Graduate Assistant. I think he has a very high football IQ and to see him stick around the program would be an interesting and profitable development for the Clemson football program, in my opinion. I think he could help Coach Streeter coach the quarterbacks, while giving back to his former football program.
What do you think, Clemson nation? Do you like the NFL rule change? Do you think Tajh Boyd can make it as a backup quarterback and what do you think of the “Two-Point Specialist” position? And would you like to see Tajh back here at Clemson as a Graduate Assistant?