Former Clemson standout Tajh Boyd dropped all the way to the sixth round of this year’s NFL draft, he’s currently buried behind Geno Smith, Michael Vick and Matt Simms on a crowded depth chart, which led many to wonder why the Jets selected former collegiate star at all. And after years in a simpler, spread offense, Rex Ryan is the first to admit Boyd’s decision-making needs to improve.
“He is behind the others, as far as scheme goes,” Ryan said. “These pro coverages are a little different.”
But on Thursday, Boyd showed flashes of why he might be worth a little patience. Running the third-team offense against the Jets starting defense — a unit that was one of the best in the league last year — Boyd evaded the rush from star defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson and ran for a first down; it’s the kind of play Boyd has the rare ability make, regardless of his other flaws.
“That’s kind of the stuff he can do,” Ryan said of the play. “He has a little magic in him. He’s got great escape ability, and that makes a guy dangerous.”
It wasn’t all positive for Boyd: he threw two consecutive interceptions in drills to follow, and he has had to adjust to more complex reads and a faster pace. But the Jets knew that when they took a flyer on him, and his raw tools has Gang Green confident that they can develop him into a solid player down the line. With no pressure to start right away and little financial commitment, they’re more than willing to wait.
“We can afford to be patient with Tajh,” Ryan said. “We have two guys [in Smith and Vick] we feel really good about. And really, Matt Simms is a guy who was our number two quarterback last year. We will bring [Tajh] along but at the end we will see what he can do. I think the fans will be excited to see this young man play, along with everybody.”