Sep 28, 2013; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers linebacker Xavius Boyd (13) during the second half time out against the Navy Midshipmen at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Western Kentucky won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Andrews and Boyd Expected to Make Splash on New Teams

CBSsports.com came out with a piece yesterday that talked about AFC undrafted free agents to watch. As we all know our beloved Antonio Andrews was kept close to home after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans, while former linebacker Xavius Boyd was UFA’ed by the Baltimore Ravens.

Jan 25, 2014; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad running back Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky (5) carries the ball against North squad outside linebacker Christian Kirksey of Iowa (45) during the first quarter at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

AA2K was welcomed into training camp by the Titans and is expected by most to be a steal. Andrews during his time on the Hill was the featured back in a potent Hilltoppers backfield.

That being said, the Titans took running back Bishop Sankey in the second round of the NFL draft and fully expect him – like everyone else – to be the primary running back. Andrews, who is fumble prone and doesn’t have break away speed, will surely be expected to carry a Titans offense on short yardage situations and also packages that feature the running back as a receiver.

Another thing to expect from Andrews is the possibility to return punts and kickoffs, much like he did for WKU. In the end, I as a football fan – not just an Andrews fan – find this signing incredibly smart on the side of Tennessee.

They have a new head coach in Ken Wisenhunt and took a physical left tackle in Taylor Lewan in the first round of the draft. A one-two-punch of Sankey and Andrews in the Titans backfield may spell trouble for the AFC South.

Now to Mr. Boyd.

Sep 28, 2013; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers linebacker Xavius Boyd (13) sacks Navy Midshipmen quarterback John Hendrick (10) during the second half at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Western Kentucky won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

According to everyone in sports, Boyd was an unknown name until he hit the scene his senior season. Boyd was always over shadowed by teammate Andrew Jackson, but is now collecting some well deserved spotlight of his own. X lead the Sun Belt in Tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (8.5) in 2013.

He far out shined Jackson and seemed to have better character as Old Hickory was suspended for a game for team reasons. (However, when it came down to it, it was a “simple,” missed meeting. A big no-no under Bobby Petrino.) That being said, Boyd wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, nor was he expected to be taken in the draft.

None the less, he was taken as an undrafted free agent by a team known for having some on the nastiest linebackers in the NFL…the Baltimore Ravens. For Baltimore, they have tried to find their identity after losing long time team captain Ray Lewis.

In the first round, they took Linebacker C. J. Mosley from Alabama to shore up their inside. For Boyd, he can make a living on the inside or outside. I don’t think he will see significant playing time in his first or second season with the Ravens.

All that having been said, the growth he can achieve – especially under Terrell Suggs - is said to be higher than that of Jackson in Indy. Boyd is in great hands in Baltimore and I’m certain he will make WKU proud.

Both of these players are high character guys, and they will add depth and heart to any NFL roster. For Hilltoppers to make it to the NFL is great for anyone who is a fan of WKU. I hope you all think the same.

Tags: Antonio Andrews Football WKU Hilltoppers Xavius Boyd

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