Could Boyd be a backup for Newton?

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
8:00
AM ET
Remember on Friday when I wrote the Carolina Panthers should consider drafting a backup quarterback for Cam Newton? They are at least talking to prospects at the NFL combine.

Clemson's Tajh Boyd told reporters in Indianapolis the Panthers were one of about 20 teams he'd talked to.

He also told them he wasn't satisfied with the backup label he's been given.

History tells us that can change quickly. Seattle selected Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft as a backup to starter Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn. He quickly became the starter and has since won a Super Bowl and been selected to two Pro Bowls.

This is not to suggest if the Panthers drafted Boyd he could beat out Newton. Carolina, which considered drafting Wilson as Newton's backup, has made it clear the first pick of the 2011 draft is their franchise quarterback.

But a player such as Boyd would be a good fit behind Newton in terms of his running ability. And as I said on Friday, Newton is one of only nine quarterbacks that has started every game since 2011, so having a quality backup with similar styles could be beneficial if he gets hurt.

The question is whether a player such as Boyd will fall to the latter rounds as ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has predicted. Boyd's career statistics definitely are worthy of a higher pick.

And he doesn't lack for confidence.

"I'm confident in my abilities. Game tape doesn't lie," Boyd said at the combine. "You can refer to the Senior Bowl [7-for-16, 31 yards, INT] if you want, but that doesn't take the place of three years''

In three years, Boyd was 32-8 at Clemson.

"Ultimately, man, I just feel like I win games,'' Boyd said.

. . . While we're on the subject of quarterbacks, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel has sought out Newton for advice.

"Being another Heisman Trophy winner I got a chance to really reach out to him probably in the spring, this summer, sometime through there,'' he told reporters in Indianapolis. "I probably had a two-hour conversation just getting to talk about everything, just about the people he has around him, what has made him so successful.

"Very eager to listen to him. Very fun-loving, fun-natured guy. I’m really thankful to be able to pick up the phone and call him if I ever did need anything.'

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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