Name: Kris Boyd
CONFERENCE: Big 12
JERSEY: No. 2
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 195 lbs
Vertical Coverage – Long speed is average at best. When matched up with true burners, simply didn’t have the wheels to stay on top of routes vertically. Does a good job of hand-fighting to maintain some leverage, but incredibly grabby as a result. No second gear to cover ground with the ball in the air. When he does manage to stay stride-for-stride with a receiver, plays the pocket extremely well and will compete all the way through the catch process. Uses his body well to eliminate space and body receivers to the boundary.
Fluidity/Agility – Tight in the hips and will struggle to recover if beaten off the line of scrimmage or out of the route break. Gives up way too much separation on in and out-breaking routes, and can’t close the distance in recovery either. Footwork and transitions in man coverage are sluggish, not a gifted short-area athlete. In order to keep receivers from separation, turns into a penalty machine with plenty of holds and DPIs on his resume, both called and uncalled.
Ball Skills – Fails to get his head around to play the ball in the air vertically the vast majority of the time. This limits his ability to compete at the catch point down the field. Hakeem Butler ate him up in contested catch situations. Not a gifted leaper, but does show some ball awareness from off coverage and has good timing to contest throws in zone. Never going to be perceived as a ballhawk for sure, but he’s not totally deficient in this area either.
Click-and-Close – Slow out of his pedal in off-man coverage, limiting his ability to close on throws underneath. Typically arrives in time to make a strong tackle, but doesn’t contest a ton of windows. Not sure he’s instinctive or explosive enough as an athlete to thrive in off-man.
Press Ability – Fairly patient in press position with a good, strong punch to stun receivers who are sluggish off the line. More explosive opponents with nuanced footwork got him to open up early in press, and he could not recover. Even when his technique is adequate, doesn’t have the smooth hips to turn and open, often falling a step or two behind right off the line of scrimmage if he doesn’t land a strike. Gets grabby early in the route as a result.
Route Recognition – I definitely wouldn’t describe him as instinctive, but he isn’t easily fooled by deceptive route combinations in zone coverage. Generally stays assignment sound and has a good feel for routes developing around him, even if his natural tools don’t always allow him to make the plays he’s processing. Will bite on double moves, was able to recover in some instances because he was so far off the receiver, but was burned by Kansas State twice.
Tackling – Very good tackler with ideal physicality for the position. Active all over the field and can make plays in space as well as around the box. Won’t hesitate to lower a shoulder and deliver a big blow. Scraps for the football when closing for tackles underneath. Loves to blow up the screen game. Will occasionally get out-athleted in space and whiff on a stop.
Run Support – Big area of strength. Consistently flies downhill to play the run and will never hesitate to stick his nose in on the action. Sometimes a little too eager and bites inside, abandoning his perimeter run fill and forcing the safety to adjust on the fly.
Competitive Toughness – Coaches will love his willingness to do dirty work. Competes every play and hustles to get in on tackles in other zip codes. Plays with some confidence and will let receivers hear about it when he’s bested them.
Athleticism/Size – Probably checks in around 5-foot-11, 190-195 pounds, so good size for a corner. Athleticism is average at best, a 4.5 40 would be a big win for him. I don’t expect him to test well in the agilities either.
BEST TRAIT – Tackling/Run Defense
WORST TRAIT – Fluidity/Long Speed
RED FLAGS – None
A physical cornerback with plenty of experience (32 starts) and a competitive streak that will go a long way with coaches, Boyd has minimal upside, but could be an average starter in a zone-heavy scheme in the NFL. His lack of athleticism, long speed and short-area quickness will limit his versatility in the NFL, and I’m not sure he has the instincts or range to make sense at safety. Boyd can improve his press technique and get a little cleaner in his footwork, but right now he looks like a day three player who will need to make his way on special teams before earning the chance to start.
Man Coverage – Boyd is wildly inconsistent with his press man technique. There are flashes of dominance in this area, as he competes at the line of scrimmage and will force a wide receiver to the outside. There have been cases of Boyd remaining in-phase and getting on top of vertical routes, running it for the receiver. However, when he misses at the line of scrimmage it can get ugly. He can be a bit jumpy side to side with sluggish feet, unable to transition and falling off-balance. In his man coverage, he is susceptible to double moves because of his aggressiveness. Does a good job learning from mistakes early the game and being more disciplined with his hips later on. Incredibly, incredibly grabby. Pass interference penalties mount up against him as he relies on jersey tugs to slow the receiver, even when he’s in proper position.
Zone Coverage – A predominantly zone scheme may be best for Boyd, as his aggressiveness could be used to slow down the stem of wide receivers without relying on him to stick to a full route tree. Aware in his zone coverages, with proper spacing. Concerns over him in his deep third due to his lack of length, but I like his traits in a cover 2 scheme.
Change of Direction – Boyd’s transitions are fine, and he opens with enough time to match the hip of the wide receiver vertically. He’s shown a quick click and close, and will rally downhill. However, when it comes to matching route breaks, he can occasionally false step. This limits his stickiness in man coverage. General fluidness in his hips is above average.
Ball Skills – This is one of the areas where Boyd excels, as he can track the football with ease. Disrupts and competes at the catch point, looking and leaning when in-phase. Looking for deflections more than interceptions, and has shaky hands when in position to make a play on the ball. Nonetheless, his high number of passes defended is a result of his effortless ball skills and matching the hands of the wide receiver on a consistent basis. His lack on length can really limit his radius and the ball can be played over his head by bigger receivers as a result, even when he’s in position.
Athleticism – Boyd has just average athleticism for the position, as his motor is high but his acceleration is nothing to write home about. His strength can be a bit lacking in the upper body, and this limits his potential in press coverage. Doesn’t possess elite make up speed. Pretty smooth and loose, but I’m concerned that he runs in the mid-to-high 4.5s.
Run Support – There may not be a better run support cornerback in the class, almost to a fault of Boyd. So aggressive against the run and always looking to get involved in the play. Feisty, downhill player with a motor that is always on full go. Will stack and shed receivers like he’s a linebacker, pursuing to the ball at full speed. When asked to blitz off the edge, he did a great job of adjusting to run plays and fitting.
Tackling – His tackling is a strength, as he is so feisty that he is difficult for ball carriers to discard. Even when he’s unable to get them on the ground, he will fight long enough to slow down their path. Flies around in order to bring down ball carriers, and maintains proper pad level. Has the tendency to dip his head, which needs to be fixed for the next level.
BEST TRAIT – Run Support
WORST TRAIT – Man Coverage
RED FLAGS – None
Boyd is an experienced senior cornerback who has played in 45 collegiate games. Entering the season, I tabbed Boyd as the best defensive back in the Big 12 with the potential to sneak into the late first round. After his senior season and Senior Bowl, it’s hard to envision Boyd going before the 5th round. While I appreciate the way he flies around and supports the run, he became too grabby in coverage and was consistently unable to compete above the rim throughout the season. I’ll never question how hard he plays the game and his toughness, but his role at cornerback seems limited to a cover 2 scheme. He may be looked as a candidate to move to free safety. Even then, his mediocre athleticism will limit his potential and could lead to him being exposed vertically. At the very least, he seems scrappy enough to stick around on special teams for whichever teams drafts him. The path to him becoming an NFL starter isn’t unrealistic, but the more likely scenario is a middling depth player with a limited ceiling.
Man Cover Skills –Can be very physical and potent inside the contact window to re-route receivers in press. Guilty of chasing after initial stem and will be manipulated by shifty receivers. Panics in off situations and doesn’t show a lot of fluidity through the hips to flip and carry vertically.
Zone Cover Skills –Lacking in explosiveness and short area quickness, which limits ability to work back into position to challenge the football when targeted in zone. Doesn’t have the length needed to play with large area of influence at the catch point.
Feet/Change of Direction –Backpedal is pretty lethargic and labored, gives up his cushion much too quickly in off-man. Ability to collect his base at the top of backpedal is limited and will concede space on hard breaks, unable to mirror or hinge his hips quickly.
Ball Skills –Will be late to work his head around and even later to identify the football, putting him in undesirable situations with his back to the ball. Has shown some skill in playing through the hands as they flash at the catch point and producing ball disruption in that capacity.
Flexibility –Tight. Struggles with his hinges and to keep his hips down to diminish time in transition. Doesn’t show a lot of looseness through his torso to look back and find the football without losing his man when carrying receiver vertically down the field.
Acceleration –Burst is most notable in click and close situations to drive into the LOS. Aggression enables flashes with driving forward. Long speed is modest and can get burnt if left in off coverage against receivers who can build up speed on the runway.
Zone Spacing –Pretty limited, will do enough in vertical assignments to stay leveraged overage of plays but will lack the spring to drive back down and combat the break. Short area quickness limits ability to time up arrival at the catch point with the ball.
Competitive Toughness –Tough, physical player. Love his tenacity playing forward and the potency he brings as a tackler. Not easily walled off or eliminated in run support. Functional strength is terrific, even at the catch point to disrupt bodies as they extend for the catch.
Run Support –Ace on the edge. Fast to fly and will bully wide receivers who try to stalk block him or set him up for a seal on the edge. Tackling skills are tremendous and shows a lot of explosiveness in his hands to jolt and create space to shed blocks.
Tackling –Booming hitter. Confident finisher who does well to show contact balance and run the feet as a tackler. Will make a killing on special teams as an open field tackler. Tackle radius and lack of length is something to note when arriving on steep angles.
BEST TRAIT – Tackling
WORST TRAIT – Man Cover Skills
BEST FILM – Texas Tech (2017)
WORST FILM – Oklahoma (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Kris Boyd projects as a press man cornerback in the NFL. Boyd’s physical presence and skill in run support at the LOS can be valuable tools, but he’ll need to be protected from coverage in off situations or short zones to make the most of his physical tools. Boyd is too rigid and ineffective collisioning away from the LOS, often grabbing and interfering with his man. Boyd is a developmental prospect with a modest ceiling and is likely best served in special teams roles in kick coverage.