|Chris Morrison-USA TODAY Sports|
With the 24th pick in the 6th round, the Colts picked up Oregon Safety John Boyett. Boyett, a 5-10, 204 pound wild man at safety and a former high school quarterback, is another player who had an excellent 2011 season only to be slowed or sidelined by injuries in 2012. This is now officially a theme of sorts for Ryan Grigson.
Boyett racked up 108 tackles, an interception, a half sack, and 6 passes defensed in 2011 (He also had 5 interceptions in 2010). Bothered by partial patella tendon tears throughout that season, Boyett had surgery on both knees after just one game in 2012.
When healthy, Boyett is accustomed to playing as the only deep safety, which should help him in Pagano’s defense. He isn’t a speedy guy, but more of a hitter, and he’ll have to be careful about penalties in the NFL.
Here is Boyett’s NFL.com Combine profile analysis:
Usually plays single high safety, last line of defense and deepest player in coverage in spite of below-average height for the position. Adequate range on downfield throws, takes aggressive angles and really attacks the catch point. Not afraid in the least to lay out to cause a deflection or make the interception. Can change his angle to adjust to the pass or receiver. Very aware of the likely target on many passes, shuffles to that side. Plays with an attitude. Watches eyes of quarterback and can comprehend what is going on in the backfield. Stays in position and closes early on only route for reverse pass. When playing in the box, makes sure to stick nose in the action. Uses hands to fight cut blocks on screen passes. Even against quick moves in space he grabs a leg and holds onto it.
Will not meet the defensive back height minimums used by some NFL teams. Closing speed when flipping hips, turning and running is only adequate, not going to gain a bunch of ground in the aspect. Does not have the speed to reach vertical route on the end receiver on trips side. Gives too much cushion on slot receiver when aligned in man coverage, makes sure not to give up big play but allows outside breaking route. Sometimes too aggressive, not afraid to hit a defenseless receiver.
Boyett might be a bit shorter than most scouts prefer at free safety, but he has good athleticism and is as tough and intelligent as any defensive back in this class. Hes made plenty of plays in coverage (nine interceptions, 20 PBU) and led the Ducks in tackles in a second-team All-Pac-12 junior season, but surgery to repair partial tears in both patella tendons ended his senior year prematurely. His Combine medical exams will need to check out before teams give him the mid-round grade his talent deserves.
And CBS Sports’ take on the former Oregon Duck:
With Boyett having missed all but the first game of the 2012 season due to undergoing surgery on both knees, you can forgive fans who might have forgotten about the second-team all-Pac-12 free safety as potential top 100 prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Just don't convince yourself that NFL scouts have.
Under coach Chip Kelly, the Ducks have become famous for their breathtaking offensive firepower. However, throughout Kelly's tenure (and previously Mike Bellotti's, as well) Oregon's most consistent contributions to the NFL came from the defensive secondary. Since 2002, Oregon has had nine defensive backs selected in the NFL Draft, including standout safeties Patrick Chung (New England Patriots), T.J. Ward (Cleveland Browns) and Jairus Byrd (Buffalo Bills).
The physical and instinctive Boyett registered a team-leading 108 tackles to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, seven passes broken up, two blocked kicks and an interception — the ninth of his career — in 2011. He recorded another interception, to go along with two tackles in the Ducks' 2012 opener against Arkansas State before determining that he needed the surgery.
Boyett underwent surgery on September 12 to repair partial tears to the patellar tendons in each of his knees. The surgery was performed by Neal ElAttrache, the head physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boyett's expected recovery time was six months, which puts him in position to potentially work out for scouts at the Combine or Oregon's Pro Day.
Strengths: Possesses excellent instincts for the position. Reads the quarterback's eyes and gets a jump on the ball, playing faster than he would have ever run in workouts. Possesses good leaping ability and ball skills. Can track the ball over his shoulder and shows good hand-eye coordination and body control to make the tough grab. Good vision for pursuit angles. Aggressively attacks the line of scrimmage but does a nice job of not getting caught up in the humanity, slipping by blockers to make tacklers near the line of scrimmage, as well as when hustling to cut off the field in pursuit.
Weaknesses: Must prove he's healthy. Lacks the preferred height at free safety. Relied on his instincts, quickness and aggression more than straight-line speed before his injury so his recovery and workouts following the procedure could prove critical to determining his final grade.
John Boyett videos – Look for number 20:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeUMVA2Nbk4 versus Arizona, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jId62_UEWTk Highlight reel
Boyett is another player looking to regain his earlier form. Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano appear to have a soft spot for guys with something to prove, and Boyett is no exception. If his knees hold up, he could be a fine backup safety and a viable option if either Antoine Bethea or LaRon Landry has any injury problems.
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