Sense of relief

TOP: Buffalo first-round draft pick Sammy Watkins (right) takes a look at Ralph Wilson Stadium with team president/CEO Russ Brandon in Orchard Park, N.Y. BOTTOM (left to right): Jadeveon Clowney, Houston's No. 1 overall pick, from South Carolina; USC's Bruce Ellington (right), with agent Tory Dandy, went in the fourth round to San Francisco; Clemson's Tajh Boyd went to the New York Jets in the sixth.

The nice thing about finally latching on with an NFL team is - well, besides stress giving way to relief, it's having an employer who will focus on the positive factors instead of the negative.

The questions Tajh Boyd faced about his professional prospects shall inevitably linger until he proves he can successfully drive an NFL offense.

But the former Clemson quarterback will have an opportunity to compete reasonably for a vital position with the New York Jets alongside second-year starter Geno Smith and new backup Michael Vick, one of Boyd's longtime mentors as they each hail from the Virginia Beach area.

"I think the way he handled the (dogfighting) situation and the way he responded showed the type of character he has," Boyd said of his relationship with Vick last July at an ACC Media Days. "That was a pretty adverse time for him in that situation, but I think he handled it with class, handled it in stride and did everything he possibly could do to make it right."

It's not like the Jets are christening Boyd to take over immediately; sixth-rounders' impact is earned, not granted.

So while Boyd's struggles against Florida State or South Carolina were probably taken into consideration, Jets senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway chose to focus on the major passing records he set at Clemson.

"(He had a) productive college career, really productive," Bradway said on a media teleconference Saturday night. "And he really throws the ball well. I was really impressed with how accurate he was throwing the deep ball, more than a lot of quarterbacks I've seen."

Of course, Boyd's connections with Jets head coach Rex Ryan couldn't have hurt; Ryan's son, Seth, was a walk-on wide receiver for the Tigers who redshirted last year.

"I just think we probably had more of an insight to probably his character with my son being there," Ryan told reporters. "My son had a thing about his leadership, Tajh's leadership. (Coach Dabo Swinney) said if Tajh would have called a meeting at 2 a.m., the entire football team would have been there.

"So I think that's impressive. I think it speaks to the type of person he is. And so we're excited to bring Tajh here and let him compete."

Boyd told FOX Carolina Saturday night he was looking forward to seeing how his outgoing personality meshed with the "charismatic" Ryan, as well as facing the New York City media and ultimately joining forces with Smith and Vick.

"I've never been in a situation where I've been competing to be a backup," Boyd told the television station. "If I'm competing to be a starter, then cool. Geno's earned that role, but nothing is guaranteed in this profession but a chance, and that's all I need, that's all I want."

Boyd wasn't the only in-state product taken by the Jets. Offensive lineman Dakota Dozier was selected late in the fourth round out of Furman, and he could play tackle or guard.

"He has some position flexibility," Jets GM John Idzik said, "which is attractive about Dakota."

Other fourth-rounders included South Carolina receiver Bruce Ellington to San Francisco, Clemson receiver Martavis Bryant to Pittsburgh and Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland to Washington.

USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (first overall, Texans) and Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins (fourth, Bills) have already spent a couple days in their new homes in Houston and Buffalo, respectively. Tigers offensive lineman Brandon Thomas was the final Day 2 pick, by the 49ers to close the third round.

The following Clemson products signed with NFL teams Saturday night or Sunday as undrafted free agents: linebacker Spencer Shuey and offensive guard Tyler Shatley with the Jaguars, cornerback Darius Robinson with the Bills, linebacker Quandon Christian with the Redskins and kicker Chandler Catanzaro with the Cardinals.

The following South Carolina products signed with NFL teams Saturday night or Sunday as undrafted free agents: quarterback Connor Shaw with the Browns, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles with the Giants, offensive guard Ronald Patrick with the Cowboys, cornerback Jimmy Legree with the Seahawks and defensive end Chaz Sutton with the Buccaneers.

Notable players still without a home are Clemson running back Roderick McDowell, a 1,000-yard rusher in 2013, and USC cornerback Victor Hampton, a second-team all-SEC selection who accepted an invitation to the NFL Combine.

Quarles and Hampton were two of the 39 early entrants who went undrafted, out of 102 candidates.