John Boyett busted out a 4.57 time in the 40-yard dash to start his Pro Day at Napa Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.
It got even better for the University of Oregon free safety, who impressed scouts from eight NFL teams with his footwork, cutting, pass catching, speed and overall talent during a 45-minute workout that focused on different drills. He also talked with each of the teams afterward.
Officials from the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants were on the field to check out Boyett, one of the top defensive backs in Oregon history, and meet with him. They wanted to see what kind of range he has and his ball skills.
“I was very happy just to come out here and just be able to run around a little bit, let alone impress the teams the way I did,” said Boyett, a former Napa High School two-way star, who had had his jersey No. 12 retired in October by the school. “They were very impressed with how fast I ran for only being a little over five months on a six-month recovery. In a month I’ll be faster and better than I am right now.”
The 2013 NFL Draft will take place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, April 25-27.
Boyett was not able to run or do or any on-field work at either the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February or Oregon’s Pro Day in March, due to season-ending surgeries on both of his knees last fall. The surgeries were to repair partial tears of both patellar tendons.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, an orthopedic surgeon at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, performed the surgeries. It’s a six-month rehab process.
ElAttrache is the head physician to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The patellar tendon works with the muscles in the front of the thigh — the quadriceps — to strengthen your leg, according to OrthoInfo.
Boyett looked sharp as he went through a battery of drills — backpedaling and cutting and catching passes thrown by Ted LeMasters, a former Napa High quarterback who played college baseball at Long Beach State and the University of San Francisco.
“Gosh, I just didn’t want to mess anything up,” said LeMasters. “I came out for support, just in case they needed somebody to throw. It’s easy to make him look good. He’s a spectacular athlete, watching him grow from school at Browns Valley on the playground, all the way up to Oregon. It’s going to be fun to watch him get a shot to play for an NFL football team and play on Sundays.”
Boyett said he still isn’t at full strength, but was happy with the way everything went. He has been doing rehab and training six days a week and has been medically cleared for workouts.
There was a light wind that he was running directly into yesterday.
He caught each of the 11 passes thrown to him, sometimes having to react and run to a ball on the opposite side of the field.
“Everything I heard was great stuff,” he said. “They were very surprised with how well I moved and they’re excited to see what I do when I get into camp.
“It felt great just to be out here on the football field. This field means a lot to me. Teddy came out here and helped me do a workout. It was just fun being out here. We have a lot of good memories in this stadium.”
Returning to the game
Boyett played in Oregon’s season opener last year, making two tackles and intercepting a pass in the Ducks’ win over Arkansas State. But he missed the remainder of his senior season due to injuries. He went into the 2012 season having made 276 total tackles in 39 games.
He finished his Oregon career with 10 interceptions. He had a very good showing at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Field, finishing second among all safeties with 27 reps in the 225-pound bench press.
He was named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award (defense), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defense) and Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back) last year.
Boyett said his knees are 100 percent. He’s now trying to get the strength back in his legs.
“The teams wanted to see how I ran and how I moved,” said Boyett. “They were very impressed with how well I’m moving. All I really care about is being ready to compete when camp starts. All I know is that when I get in there I’m going to try to do my best and see where the cards fall.”
The surgeries, he said, test your mental capacity.
“You’ve got to continue to stay humble and just continue to work and just hope the best is going to come your way in the future. And that’s what I try to do. I’m thankful for the support that I have around me — my family, my friends, my coaches. They make the process a lot easier. I’m glad to be in the situation that I’m in right now.”
Family, friends, Napa High coaches and school officials were on hand for the private workout. Boyett had very limited time on the field for previous workouts leading to his Pro Day.
“For him to come out and do the things he did today was absolutely amazing,” said Napa High head football coach Troy Mott. “His character and his competitiveness always shine bright in these moments.”
Dan Boyett said his son competed on every snap, adding that it didn’t look like John had missed a beat.
“He came out here today, he knew what it was all about,” Dan Boyett said. “It was an interview for a job. It turned out well, he performed.”
Boyett’s agent, Jeff Sperbeck, was on the field yesterday.
“It was important to show the NFL teams that he’s moving well and that he’s healthy. That was the entire key to the day,” said Sperbeck. “He rose to the occasion and did a great job.”
Boyett is planning to visit with at least four teams leading up to the draft and had already met or talked with a few teams before Wednesday. He would not say the names of those teams.
“He showed that he’s getting back to his old self,” said LeMasters, who threw passes that varied in length. “I’ve seen him play his whole life — he’s probably the toughest competitor I’ve ever played with or against. He’s a tough guy that can anger you because he’s so relentless. He’s an impressive athlete, as we all know. He’s relentless and he wants to get back to who he was.
“If he sets a goal, he’s the type of guy who’s going to reach that goal because of how mentally tough and competitive he is. You know very well a guy like this that can come back from anything, with his family and support around him and his own approach on life. He’s going to be able to bounce back from any adversity.”