Each week in this space I try to provide readers with a breakdown of a small school prospect who I believe has a shot at the NFL. In a perfect world the game breakdown comes from a contest played this past weekend.
Some of these games come from direct television feeds. Some others come from coaches tape overnighted to me so I can review and write up the players by Tuesday. This week's prospect -- Humboldt State center Taylor Boggs -- came to my attention via an email sent by Duane "Duke" Manyweather, a strength and conditioning coach on the Lumberjacks' staff.
Division II players capable of making the jump to the NFL are rare. NFLDraftScout.com currently lists another D-II center, Slippery Rock's Brandon Fusco as a draftable prospect. After reviewing Boggs' tape against Western Oregon (game played 9/25), I believe he too has a chance at the pros.
Boggs (6024, 296 pounds) is an athletic and powerful prospect. Against the Wolves, he demonstrated the quick feet and balance to pull and lock up back seven defenders in space. In short yardage situations, he played with good leverage and showed that he can drive his opponent off the ball. Boggs was alert and active in pass protection, sliding well laterally and providing a nice pop to his target due to good upper body strength.
Offensive line coaches will like Boggs' tenacity and nastiness on the field. Boggs likes to set the tone with pancake blocks and does a good job of striking the defender, sensing when they're off-balance and driving them into the ground. At times, Boggs is too concerned with making the emphatic block, allowing his hands to slip outside the numbers.
Pro scouts visited Humboldt State last year with the specific goal of checking out Boggs. Despite the attention, Boggs, I've been told, was not among the prospects initially graded as "draftable" by National or BLESTO, the two scouting services most NFL teams rely on. Considering this year's weaker than average class of senior centers and guards, however, Boggs may have enough game to warrant an invitation to a senior all-star game where obvious questions about his level of competition and ability to enjoy success outside of the Lumberjacks scheme could be answered.
Scouts certainly can't argue with his production on the field. Boggs was recognized by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference coaches as this year's GNAC Offensive Lineman of the Year. The recognition was hardly a surprise. In fact, Boggs has earned First-Team all-conference honors after each of the past three seasons.