Raiders UDFA Billy Boyko player profile

Lehigh linebacker Billy Boyko - Lehigh Athletics

In the days following the draft, the Raiders signed 14 undrafted free agents. One of those UDFA's was Lehigh's Billy Boyko.

This 6-2, 240 pound linebacker was a full time starter for Mountain Hawks over the past four seasons. He led the team with 104 tackles as a senior last year. He would help the Moutain Hawks to a 10-1 record including an impressive comeback win in the season finale against rival Lafayette.

Lehigh is in Bethlehem Pennsylvania which is a neighboring city to Boyko's hometown of Northhampton. Oakland is about as far as an NFL franchise can get from Eastern Pennsylvania. He had other NFL teams show interest in him such as the Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Seahawks, but they would only offer him a tryout.

The Raiders were the only team to extend Boyko a contract, so now he is headed to Oakland. The Raiders' interest wasn't a surprise to Boyko, however. They have shown interest much of the off-season.

"The Raiders were one of the 15 teams at Pro Day (on March 12)," Boyko told Lehigh Valley Live. "I've been in contact with them leading up to the draft."

At the Lehigh Pro Day last month, Boyko performed very well. He had a 37.5 inch vertical leap, 15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, and an unofficial 4.5 40-yard dash.

The concerns with him are his injury history and level of competition. He missed games due to injury in both his junior and senior season. He also plays in the little heralded Patriot League, facing teams such as Army, Navy, Holy Cross, and Colgate among others.

For those reasons, Boyko wasn't projected as a draftable player but he was on some teams' radars after a solid season and Pro Day. Boyko's coach, Andy Coen, thinks very highly of him.

"Billy was the best defensive player in our league," Coen said following the Lehigh pro day. "He may not have had as many tackles as some other people, but as physical as he was, as reckless as he was and what he did for our defense ... he was MVP of our football team this year because of what he did."

Boyko projects as an inside linebacker at the NFL level. It is a position at which the Raiders don't have much depth with just the injury prone Travis Goethel behind starter Nick Roach on the depth chart. This makes Oakland a wise destination for the NFL hopeful. He will have a much better chance of making the Raiders than on most teams.

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