When the Bengals selected University of Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd in Round 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft, they answered the question of how they plan to replace Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu for the long-term. What do the Bengals coaches like best about Boyd? Let's take a look at what they had to say after the pick was announced.
"We're really excited with the addition of Tyler," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said after the pick was made. "He had such a productive career at the University of Pittsburgh. He got off to such a great start and has been productive in catches and receptions each year. He's carried the football, thrown the football — he's done it all there. He's a competitive, strong football player, so it's a good fit for us and where we are right now moving forward."
Sounds similar to Sanu, right? Well, Lewis agrees, but seems to like him even better than the former Bengals third round pick who left this offseason for the Falcons. "He's probably more productive than Mo was in college, but he had maybe more opportunities than Mo had at Rutgers," Lewis said.
Lewis says Boyd excels at using his body to create separation and is great with the ball in his hands. "He seems to understand the game very well," Lewis added. "He’s been a returner over there. We’ve got to get him better at some of that, catching the football as a returner and so forth, but that is something he has done and something he should be good at with his ability to run the ball."
When asked if Boyd will be able to start right away, Lewis admitted there will be a competition.
"Tyler, yes, has an opportunity to come in to compete to play, and we've got some guys in the building who feel like they want those opportunities as well, including Mario Alford, who we drafted a year ago and has a season under his belt with us. There will be a good competition."
Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese said Boyd's football instincts are what stuck out to him as well as his ability to separate sideways and laterally from defenders. "You get a chance to see him do a lot of different things because they got it to him in a lot of different ways — handing it, throwing it," Zampese said. "He threw the ball. You got to see everything that the guy has, which is nice to know. Sometimes you don't get to see all those things. So we have a good idea of what he is. We have a pretty good idea of where we can take him. He's certainly not a finished product, but he's ours and we like him. We're going to drag him and push him and make him compete, and drive him to where we think he can be."
Boyd is starting to sound more and more like a better refined version of Sanu.
Boyd played mostly on the outside, but in the slot too while at Pitt. Zampese sees him as someone who can contribute in the slot right away. "He struck me as a guy that can play slot early, and learn the outside spot and be productive out there as we go," Zampese said. "He's played a lot of slot. He's very familiar with where the bodies are coming from down in there. And he's got good vision, football IQ and instincts to avoid and get up field."
Wide receivers coach James Urban was asked about the comparison to Sanu in terms of versatility and toughness but Urban didn't want to compare the two.
"I don't want to compare Mo to him or vice versa," Urban said. "The versatility is the similarity — the variety of things he is capable of doing. It opens up some options for us. You guys have seen what our creative minds can come up with those kinds of players."