Smarts, toughness could buoy Boyce with Patriots

Smarts, toughness could buoy Boyce with Patriots
April 27, 2013, 1:30 pm
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FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a go-to line when it comes to describing what makes a good receiver: Get open and catch the ball.

It doesn't hurt to be smart and tough either, though, and Josh Boyce, who the Patriots took with the 102nd overall pick Saturday, seems to be both.

The 5-foot-11, 206-pound junior tore up the NFL Combine in February, and he did it all with a fractured fifth metatarsal of his right foot. Basically, he had a broken pinkie toe, known as a "Jones fracture."

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and had the third-best 3-cone drill among receivers at this year's combine (6.68 seconds). Among receivers, he had the fourth-best broad jump, the third-best 60-yard shuttle, and he put up the second most reps on the 225-pound bench press (22).

Boyce later had a screw inserted at the base of his toe, which forced him to miss his pro day at Texas Christian University. Surgery was expected to knock him out for 6-8 weeks, and he said during a conference call on Saturday that he is "day-to-day."

Especially after the news came out that he had a bum foot, Boyce understood that his impressive combine performance helped put him on the map.

"I think it did," said Boyce. "I know a lot of people didn't think I would run as fast as I did. I think the combine helped me out a lot."

Boyce, who left school one year early but already has his degree in sociology, is the second receiver the Patriots have taken this weekend. They selected Marshall wideout Aaron Dobson with the 59th overall pick Friday night, a 6-3, 210-pound prototypical outside-the-numbers wideout.

Playing both inside and outside for the Horned Frogs, Boyce set the school record for touchdown receptions (22). Last season, he had 66 catches for 891 yards and seven touchdowns.

Since his college offense required him to make mid-route adjustments based on coverage, he expects to be able to do the same at the pro level.

"I'm real smart," he said. "I can pick up things pretty quick. I see a lot of things before they happen."

Boyce visited the Patriots during the pre-draft process and has the benefit of knowing a few of his new teammates already. He played with offensive lineman Marcus Cannon and defensive back Malcolm Williams at TCU. He's also worked out with Julian Edelman, and he met Tom Brady on his visit to One Patriot Place. Boyce's agent, Don Yee, also represents Brady and Edelman.

Having caught passes from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in college and from Redskins signal-caller Robert Griffin III at Copperas Cove High School in Texas, Boyce is accustomed to working with talented arms. He knows his streak of luck has continued given that he'll be working with Brady.

"All three of them are great guys and great quarterbacks," Boyce said. "I've been blessed to play with great quarterbacks my whole football career."

Now all he has to do is make the most of the opportunity. 

"Whatever they need me to do," said Boyce, "I can do."