FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Armed with inside knowledge from a source close to the head coach -- his son -- the New York Jets selected former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the sixth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.
Rex Ryan's son, Seth, is a freshman wide receiver at Clemson, and that allowed him to develop a relationship with Boyd. It was Ryan who pulled the trigger with the 213th overall choice, the 11th of 12 draft picks for the Jets. Ryan likes to say he gets to make one draft pick a year.
"I think we all know my pick," a smiling Ryan said at the conclusion of the draft. "I can't lie about that. It's pretty obvious."
Ryan acknowledged that the unusual situation allowed them to get a better feel for Boyd, a record-breaking quarterback whose pro stock slipped during his senior year.
"We probably had more insight into his character with my son being there," Ryan said. "My son talked about his leadership. He said he was the leader of that program as far as a player is concerned. He said that if Tajh called a meeting at 2 a.m., the entire football team would've been there. That speaks about the type of person he is. We're excited to bring Tajh here and let him compete."
The Jets have four quarterbacks on the roster. Boyd will compete with Matt Simms for the No. 3 job, behind Geno Smith and Michael Vick. Boyd grew up in the same area of Virginia as Vick and considers him a mentor. He said he consulted with Vick before making his decision to return for his senior year.
Boyd said he was sitting in his car, the seat reclined, a hat pulled over his eyes, dozing off, when he received a call from a New Jersey area code. It was Ryan.
"He said, 'How'd you like to be a Jet?' " Boyd said. "It was probably the most refreshing call and the most exciting call I've received in my life."
Boyd admitted the long wait was difficult. He was the 13th quarterback chosen in the draft.
"Half those guys I beat in games," he said. "It was a little frustrating, but once you get the call it all goes away."
Boyd was a three-year starter, compiled a 32-8 record and passed for nearly 12,000 yards and 107 touchdowns. He considered himself a top-10 or top-15 prospect, but he sensed his pro stock started to slip when he lost at home to Florida State last season. He followed that with an "OK performance" at the Senior Bowl.
Suddenly, "it seems like everything at Clemson goes to waste," he said.
But the Jets were impressed by Boyd's pro day. Terry Bradway, their senior director of college scouting, called it "as fine a quarterback workout as there might have been all spring. He was really on. He threw the ball great." The coaches met privately with Boyd and were taken by his leadership qualities.
Boyd said he's not comfortable being a backup, but won't complain, of course. There will be a steep learning curve because he has to learn a pro-style offense.
"It's going to take some time, but we have three other quarterbacks on the roster," said Jeff Bauer, the Jets' director of college scouting. "Eventually, he'll get it. He's a smart kid. He'll learn."