Tajh Boyd entered last season as a Heisman contender, but his stock took a hit following Clemson's 37-point loss to Florida State in October, and his poor showing in the Senior Bowl (7 for 61, 31 yards, interception) didn’t help.
He bounced back with a strong pro day in early March and, though he is not ranked in the top 10 QB prospects according to Mel Kiper Jr. or Todd McShay, he has impressed NFL scouts and could be a late-round pick in the draft.
In preparation for Jon Gruden’s QB Camp show with Boyd, below is an in-depth breakdown of Boyd’s greatest strength, his main area of improvement in 2013 and a cause for concern.
Greatest strength: Arm strength
Over the last two seasons, no other quarterback from a BCS-AQ school has more 30-yard completions than Boyd. And it's not just the high volume of long passes that Boyd throws; he is also the most accurate passer on deep balls of any BCS-AQ quarterback since 2012.
Boyd Passes 20+ Yds Downfield
BCS-AQ Ranks Last Season
His accuracy might even be understated by those numbers in the chart to the right. Of his 29 incompletions on throws of 20 or more yards downfield last season, three were dropped by the receiver and six in total were deemed "catchable passes" by STATS LLC.
Boyd is able to make these deep throws even when facing pressure. Over the last two seasons, his 24 completions of at least 30 yards when facing the blitz are six more than any other BCS-AQ quarterback.
Biggest improvement: Passing outside the pocket
Boyd is an above-average athlete who has shown the ability to escape the pocket and run since his first season as a starter in 2011. He averaged 12 rushes per game and ran for more than 1,110 yards during his sophomore, junior and senior campaigns combined.
Yet in 2012, he struggled when passing outside the pocket, completing 47 percent of his throws. Although he led a game-winning drive against LSU in the Chick-fil-a Bowl that season, he completed just 1 of 5 passes outside the pocket for seven yards in the game.
Last season he improved his completion percentage when passing outside the pocket to 55 percent, ranking among the top 10 BCS-AQ quarterbacks with at least 50 such throws. He was impressive in the Orange Bowl win over Ohio State, completing 3 of 6 passes outside the pocket, including two touchdowns.
Biggest concern: Not prototypical NFL QB
Although he was productive in college, Boyd's below-average height is one reason he is not ranked among the elite quarterbacks. Only five quarterbacks 6-foot-1 or shorter threw at least 100 passes in the NFL last season – though two of them were Drew Brees and Super Bowl champ Russell Wilson.
There is also concern about his ability to adapt to a pro-style offense after playing in a wide-open scheme at Clemson. Since 2011, no BCS-AQ quarterback threw more passes or had more completions from a shotgun or pistol formation than Boyd.