INDIANAPOLIS - Tell Tajh Boyd he doesn't belong in the upper echelon at your own peril.
Understand off the bat: the NFL Scouting Combine is no place for the humble. Players all around Lucas Oil Stadium declare themselves the best at their positions, swear they'll run 4.4 in the 40-yard-dash and deserve to be drafted higher than many analysts have them pegged.
In Boyd's case, he frankly could care less how long folks think he'll have to wait to be drafted. Despite a couple of letdown performances his senior year and a Senior Bowl struggle, Boyd will let his Clemson resume speak for itself.
"Look at what I did for the past three seasons. People lie, numbers don't," Boyd told the Post and Courier just after his 6-minute podium session at the NFL Scouting Combine Saturday.
"I've been one of the best guys. Honestly, if there's a guy who can go out here and do it better than me, I want to see it, so I'm looking forward to it."
Another reporter asked Boyd if he ever considered not throwing during Sunday's on-field drills, since the format can be trying on a quarterback's usual rhythm. Two of the top three prospects in Indianapolis, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, are expected to pass on passing.
"That's not even in my competitive nature," Boyd said. "Andrew Luck threw. Cam (Newton) threw. Why wouldn't I go out there and throw?"
Boyd said he has met with "about 20 teams," including the Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders, Panthers, Vikings and Jaguars. The 2012 ACC Player of the Year is not content with the presumed backup label, however.
"I'm confident in my abilities. Game tape doesn't lie," Boyd said. "You can refer to the Senior Bowl (7-for-16, 31 yards, INT on a windy day) if you want, but that doesn't take the place of three years."
Boyd's biggest argument for a lofty draft pick is similar to friends and contemporaries Connor Shaw of South Carolina and Aaron Murray of Georgia.
"Ultimately, man, I just feel like I win games," Boyd said. "32-8 at Clemson, was 43-2 in high school - I mean, winning's just something I've always been a part of."
Watkins takes after Nuk
Boyd's Combine workout number is No. 2, which his favorite target this year wore on his Clemson uniform.
Across the room from Boyd's press conference was his favorite target, as Sammy Watkins talked about his growth into an expected top-ten draft selection.
"I've been blessed with great coaches at Clemson and one of the greatest wide receivers in college, DeAndre Hopkins," Watkins said. "I learned from him a lot. He taught me the ropes and that's who I try to imitate my game like, catching the ball, being physical, being that dominant receiver. Over the years he helped me be who I am today and we still get in touch and work on things."
Out with a bang
Shaw was asked if he could only hand one game tape to pro scouts, which would it be - a tough choice, with three Clemson victories as well as his epic personal comeback at Missouri with a badly sprained knee among the options.
Shaw believes he saved his best for last.
"Probably would be the Wisconsin game, the last one," Shaw said. "Just the way that it ended out. I couldn't have scripted it any better."
The Gamecocks beat the Badgers 34-24 in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1. Shaw won MVP honors by completing 22 of 25 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, along with 47 rushing yards and a score.
Big bad Kelcy
In late November, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier compared defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles to Hall of Fame tackle Warren Sapp - both for his belly and his ability.
"I mean, to be compared to a great, I could care less about having a stomach," said Quarles, who measured in at 6-4 and 297 pounds Saturday. "I trimmed down a little bit. I look way better than I did. I look real good for my weight right now."
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