NEWARK — The neat thing about being involved in the NFL Draft, said Nick Boyle, is that it’s not just about him.
The Delaware tight end’s family has gotten caught up in it, too.
The youngest of four children, Boyle said his family might be even more excited about this week than he is.
“My mom didn’t really know anything about football,” he admitted. “Now she kind of knows stuff. My dad’s the one who looks at all the articles and sends me the links.
“It’s really cool because they’re getting more into it — especially my mom. She’s really excited. ... Every time I say, ‘This team called or that team called,’ she always asks where they are.”
By Sunday night, the months of speculation will be over and reality will have taken its place. There’s no reason to think that the 6-foot-4, 268-pound Boyle won’t be on some NFL team’s roster by then.
After a strong off-season in the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl, Boyle is projected as a solid fifth-to-sixth-round pick. That puts him in the middle of Sunday’s action when the draft concludes with rounds four through seven.
“We’re excited to see where Nick will end up,” said Delaware coach Dave Brock. “I think they feel like he’s a complete player. ... And I think there’s a lot of people in the league who believe he can play fullback. He’s certainly a versatile player.”
A second-team Sports Network All-American as a senior, Boyle only put up OK receiving numbers last fall — 37 catches for 304 yards and four touchdowns. That came after he had 42 receptions for 474 yards and seven TDs in his junior year.
But Brock said regularly during the fall that the Blue Hens simply had to keep Boyle in because he was one of the team’s best blockers. That’s a skill that has only enhanced his NFL potential now.
“I would look at it like Nick’s a great teammate and an unselfish player,” said Brock. “I think every time you looked at it like he was sacrificing from a blocking perspective, he probably earned some money in the next stage of his career. He’s got an awful lot of great film.
“He’s a fantastic pass protector, which I think is a little undervalued coming out of a smaller school. I think he’s got a great skill set and it’s going to really transition well into the NFL.”
If he wanted to, Boyle could have filled his days reading all the draft speculation. But he lets his dad and his roommates give him the highlights.
Boyle seems to be considered about the 10th-best tight end in this year’s draft. Sports Illustrated has him going to the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round.
Historically, Boyle is trying to become the first Blue Hen football player drafted in the NFL since center Gino Gradkowski in the fourth round in 2012. But he’s also trying to become the first non-transfer drafted from UD since receiver Jamin Elliott in 2002.
“I’m kind of a guy who looks at every situation with the worst possible outcome and the best possible outcome,” said Boyle. “If I’m undrafted, I’m undrafted. Then I’ve got to make a team. If you’re a fifth-round pick or you’re an undrafted free agent, both of those players have a chance to make the team.
“People ask what the feeling is going to be like,” Boyle said about being drafted. “And I have no idea what it’s going to feel like. That’s probably the most exciting part about it. It’s so unpredictable.”
Boyle will spend the weekend back home in New Jersey, watching the draft with his family. On Sunday, he’ll head to church for his cousin’s first communion before settling in to watch perhaps the biggest day of his football career.
He knows what happens next is out of his control for the most part.
“I’m happy with where I am right now,” said Boyle. “All you can really do is train as hard as you can and prepare as best as you can and give yourself a chance when you go out there. At the end of the day, I gave everything I had to it.
“That’s what I think is going to help me through the hard work, through all the training and all that stuff. I think I put myself in the best possible position to be successful.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org