Dabo Swinney's NFL draft rule-of-thumb: first round, or stay in school

Clemson coach says he'd be 'very surprised' if Tajh Boyd is not back for senior season

Dabo Swinney watches as Tajh Boyd runs for a first down in the fourth quarter

Photo by Mark Crammer

Dabo Swinney watches as Tajh Boyd runs for a first down in the fourth quarter

Tajh Boyd said earlier this week that he's keeping his options open in regard to declaring for the NFL Draft.

Dabo Swinney says he, Boyd and the Tigers have more pressing concerns this week as they prepare for N.C. State. But after practice on Wednesday, Swinney offered his general guideline in advising players who are considering making an early jump to the NFL.

“I don’t think any of them should leave unless they're a first -rounder," Swinney said. "I've been doing this too long, and I've had too many guys sit in my office when they realize that a million dollars isn’t a million dollars.

"When you pay your taxes and buy a car and pay your agent, you'd better go to work. Unless you're a legitimate first rounder, you'd better come back."

With the end of the season approaching, Boyd is getting little mention from draft analysts as a high-pick projection in the 2013 draft.

Earlier this week he was named as one of 15 'players to watch' for the Walter Camp Award as national collegiate player of the year. There are eight other quarterbacks on the list.

One website - NFLDraftScout.com - lists 43 quarterbacks without mentioning the Clemson junior.

The Bleacher Report projects that just three quarterbacks will be taken in the first round - Southern Cal's Matt Barkey, West Virginia's Geno Smith, and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson. Tennessee's Tyler Bray, Georgia's Aaron Murray, and Oklahoma's Landry Jones are tabbed as second-round choices, with Florida State's EJ Manuel and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib going in the third round, along with N.C. State's Mike Glennon.

"Personally, I'd be surprised, very surprised, if he's not back here," Swinney said. "But that's not something we're really focusing on. There's a time and a place for that. Right now it's just about trying to finish the season."

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Comments » 2

lhaselden writes:

Depending on how we finish the year.... Boyd's draft stock might go up... last year we fell apart at the end... if we finish strong it will be because of Boyd... I agree that if he is a first round pick he should take the money and give it his best shot....
He has already given us 4 years, if he chooses to go on to the NFL this year I will fully back his decision no matter what round he is predicted to be in. I think he could be as good as any who came out last year.
I expect that Nuk Hopkins would be a late first round pick....

TigerNE writes:

Since Boyd's '11 year had some serious stumbles, his stock is not as high for the draft. If he stays and has another '12 like year in '13, he would almost surely be a first round choice. Another year gives him an even better chance for awards (Heisman??) to help his prospects even more.

What counts as much is where the voids will be in the NFL by the end of their season. There are some serious injuries already and perhaps to come. There are a few 'franchise quarterback' needs, but not many. Many put the odds on Kansas City having early pick and taking Geno Smith. Buffalo has already hinted at looking for the same this year. But that's about it. And there are a lot of QB choices already.

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