Josh Boyce was under the impression his NFL career was going to begin in South Florida. With their fourth-round pick approaching, the Miami Dolphins got the TCU receiver on the phone and told him they were spending the 104th pick on him.
But the Patriots, picking at 102 with a selection acquired from the Minnesota Vikings, got the drop on Miami and selected Boyce first.
“As soon as I got off the phone the Patriots called me,” Boyce told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You never know,” he said. “I’m just glad God gave me the opportunity to get drafted. I can go forward from there.”
Boyce is perhaps the most intriguing player the Patriots selected during the draft. Some of his measurables are eye-popping – 4.38 in the 40 with a broken toe, 22 reps on the bench press with 225 on the bar. His 34-inch vertical isn’t out of this world but it’s still more than adequate.
More than anything, though is the way coaches and teammates rave about Boyce’s toughness and smarts.
Boyce’s coach at Copperas High School, Jack Welch, told WEEI.com, “I can tell you that Josh Boyce is a phenom. He’s a freak. An athletic freak. But when you put that personality in that body, along with that great attitude, you have a winner. He’s never missed a workout, as far as I know. Never.”
Spend a few minutes (if the spirit moves you), watching Boyce play against Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
You’ll see some of the quarterback play from redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin that made it hard for Boyce’s performance level to be easily judged. Boykin is a little erratic. But you can see Boyce is a thickly built receiver, competitive as a blocker, and a little more plodding than you’d expect on some plays.
At about the 1:30 mark, you’ll see Boyce lined up as the lone wideout to the right, run about an 8-yard out (not sure why he has the hop start to his route, but…), turn the defender, make the catch and then accelerate for about a 60-yard gain.
Boyce explained during his Combine interview period with the media that he was turning pro for a few reasons. One, was he had gotten his degree in sociology. The other was because of uncertainty at the quarterback position. As you watch the video, you can see Boyce’s concerns are well-founded.