Packers Annual Checkup: Josh Boyd

In nine games played in 2013, Green Bay defensive lineman Josh Boyd recorded six tackles to go along with five quarterback hurries.

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FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.

Josh Boyd, defensive line

Season stats: Nine games (117 snaps); six tackles, zero sacks, five quarterback hurries, two missed tackles season rating: minus-0.8 (ranked No. 10 out of Packers’ 26 qualifying defensive players; ranked No. 2 out of 7 defensive linemen)

Best game: Week 15 win at Dallas (32 snaps; three tackles (one for loss), two quarterback hurries; 1.3 PFF rating)

Worst game: Week 16 loss vs. Pittsburgh (25 snaps; zero tackles, two quarterback hurries; minus-1.2 PFF rating)

Expectations at the start of the season: Low

Expectations were … Met

Looking live: A fifth-round pick in 2013, Josh Boyd already turned 24 years old one week into training camp. That made him the Packers’ 23rd-youngest player, so he was beginning his NFL career much later than most rookies. Boyd got off to a very slow start, though. He was barely heard from in training camp, to the point that he didn’t make a single notable play throughout all of training camp. Not once did his name pop up in our Training Camp Report series. Boyd just didn’t look ready. He was already buried on a deep defensive line group, and Boyd certainly wasn’t doing anything early on to prove that he would be deserving of playing time in the opening weeks of the regular season. Even with Green Bay’s numbers at defensive line, Boyd still made the 53-man roster, but that seemed to be mostly because of his status as a mid-round pick and the threat of the Packers possibly not being able to get him onto the practice squad if released.

Upon further review: As expected, Boyd was non-existent early in the season. Despite being completely healthy, Boyd was on the gameday inactive roster for the first five games. He was then active for two games (playing only 10 combined snaps) before being back among the inactives yet again in Week 9. But the second half of the regular season was a much different story for Boyd. He earned his way onto the gameday roster permanently beginning in Week 13 and made the most out of nearly every opportunity that he got. It was obvious after Jerel Worthy played 10 snaps in Week 12 that the 2012 second-round pick was just not ready to contribute yet after returning from the torn ACL he suffered late in the previous season. That was to Boyd’s benefit, as he had passed Worthy on the depth chart at that point. For a player at 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, Boyd showed that he could really move. Looking again at his best game in Week 15, Boyd was an entirely different player than he was in training camp. On the Cowboys’ first drive of the game, they ran a handoff to the outside edge of left tackle Tyron Smith. Boyd quickly beat Smith to gain outside leverage on the play and tackled DeMarco Murray for a three-yard loss. Boyd didn’t have a lot of chances to show if he could perform at a high level consistently, but he was often very good against the run. However, he was used more often in passing situations (61.5 percent of the time). Boyd was fairly solid in that area, too, mostly attempting to use quickness over power to get to quarterbacks.

Packers 2014 Annual Checkup Archive

Overall 2013 grade: C

Status for 2014: Ninety-nine percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2014 season. Based on the improvement that Boyd showed late in the 2013 season, he could be destined for big things in Green Bay’s defense. If the Packers begin next season without B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly (all free agents), there will be plenty of opportunities for younger defensive linemen like Boyd to take on major roles. Even if one or two of those three veterans are re-signed, Boyd will still see a drastic increase in his playing time. Boyd is never going to be as large as Raji, Pickett and Jolly (all 330-plus pounds), but he’ll be battling for years alongside the likes of Worthy, Datone Jones and Mike Daniels.

Next: Wide receiver Jarrett Boykin

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