Gruden weighs in on Watkins, Boyd

Jon Gruden

Former Clemson stars Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are just over a week away from hearing their names called in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Watkins is expected to be among the first players taken in the first-round, which takes place on Thursday, May 8. The second and third rounds will be on Friday, the 9th. Rounds 4-7 are on Saturday.

During a teleconference on Tuesday, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden shared his thoughts on two of the most visible draft prospects from Clemson.

"I think the biggest thing he's done is he has done consistently well for every team he's worked out for," Gruden said of Watkins. "He's a big, explosive man. He's able to run after the catch. At Clemson, he returned Clemson."

During his Clemson career, Watkins had 240 receptions for 3,391 yards with 27 touchdowns, 339 yards rushing and 1,376 kickoff return yards.

He also owns the school records for receptions, receptions per game, receiving yards, receiving yards per game and 100-yard receiving games.

"I think what sets Sammy apart is his sincerity and passion for the game," Gruden said. "Everyone I've talked to has come away very impressed with Watkins' passion to be great and to put forward a tremendous work ethic."

The Super Bowl XXXVII winning head coach also had some good things to say about Boyd, who was one of the nine participants in his QB Camp series.

"One of the things I like about Boyd the most is he's a finisher. He didn't come out early. He went back to Clemson to finish with his teammates," Gruden said. "He is a quarterback that has a live arm. He can run. He has production passing and running.

"The show that we did on him is relative to his performance. It's all about peaks and valleys. He's had tremendous peaks at Clemson in this no-huddle, spread offense. He's had some great individual performances."

For all the good Boyd did while at Clemson -- first in school history in passing touchdowns, passing efficiency, touchdown responsibility, passing yards, completions, completions per game, passing attempts, completion percentage, total offensive yards, total offense plays, 200-yard passing games, 300-yard passing games, 200-yard total offense yard game, 300-yard total offense yard games, consecutive starts at quarterback, snaps by a quarterback, top-25 wins by a starting quarterback -- Gruden said there were a few warts.

"He's also had some valleys, like the three South Carolina losses. I thought the struggle against Florida State -- I think people are studying those games, high-profile competition and wonder why he struggled a little bit in those outings," Gruden said. "He's just got to become more consistent. When he did go to the Senior Bowl it was a struggle initially, converting to being underneath the center for the quarterback."

However, Gruden likes Boyd and believes that he'll be a mid-round draft pick.

"If he gets into a system, he has a chance to be a good player, if they get some continuity around him," Gruden said.

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