The Green Bay Packers parted ways with a number of players on Monday. Most notable among the group was defensive lineman Josh Boyd. Boyd had been with the Packers for three seasons as a fifth round draft pick out of Mississippi State in the 2013 draft.
The 6’3″ and 310 lb. lineman suffered a severe ankle injury last season that reportedly featured ligament tears. For a player that had worked himself into the defensive rotation as a key role player, the injury must have been more significant than first assumed for the Packers to waive him so early in the offseason.
Boyd played little early on in his rookie year but began getting snaps on defense toward the end of the 2013 season. In 2014, Boyd saw a significant increase in playing time when BJ Raji was lost for the year with a bicep injury. Boyd was used everywhere from the 0 to the 3 technique but eventually settled in as a 5 technique defensive end on running downs in 2015. His 2015 season was cut short, however, after he suffered the aforementioned ankle injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Boyd was not a game changing player, but he provided stability and flexibility on a rotational basis to Dom Capers’ defense, especially as a depth player. In 2014 when Raji went down, Boyd was part of the solution. Looking into 2016, the Packers once again find themselves without the service of a retiring BJ Raji, and it is likely that Boyd would have been valued as an experienced piece of the puzzle for replacing Raji and maintaining continuity on the line.
More details are likely to emerge over the next few days, but it would seem that Boyd’s ability to play football has taken such a significant blow that the team did not feel that a young, reliable player who had made the team all three years of his career was even worth a spot on the offseason roster. It’s a tough break for the Packers and especially Josh Boyd.
The move will make the training camp battles along the defensive line even more interesting. It likely means that the Packers will look even more toward drafted rookies like Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. It may also open the door for undrafted rookies like Brian Price.——————
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.