"Is he purely a slot receiver?"
That seems to be the question when it comes to second-round Bengals rookie Tyler Boyd, who figures to see significant snaps, specifically at the slot position, in 2016. Boyd may spend the bulk of his time working in the slot, but that doesn't mean he won't see time outside.
When recounting the Bengals' Day 2 picks in a press conference on the night of April 29, Marvin Lewis said Boyd will have an opportunity to earn immediate playing time, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. Offensive coordinator Ken Zampese added that Boyd "struck [him] as a guy that can play slot early, and learn the outside spot and be productive out there as [he goes]. 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."
One scout was enamored with Boyd's "nifty, quick feet" and ability to "really snap routes off," per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who had Boyd rated as the sixth-best receiver in this year's Draft class. "He'd sooner play on the perimeter than in the middle," the scout added.
Whether he plays inside or outside, the Bengals will be counting on Boyd to make some plays in 2016. He joins A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Brandon Tate and a slew of late-rounders and undrafted free agents in the Bengals' crowded, but young, wide receiver corps. Expectations will be high for the rookie, as he'll be one of very few Bengals rookies in recent years given the opportunity to contribute early in his career.
"I think, finally, having a great quarterback will make it a lot easier for me to take my talents to a whole other level than I thought it would be," Boyd said, per the Enquirer. "At Pitt, the guys were good, but they weren't Pro Bowl guys or MVP-type of caliber guys. With [Andy Dalton] throwing me to open space, making me catch it away from defenders, making it a lot easier for me I feel like it'll just take my game to a whole other level than what I think it's already at. It'll completely change me."
LaFell isn't the Bengals' long-term solution on the perimeter, so if Boyd can impress coaches, he could become the guy who lines up opposite Green for years to come. It's important to remember that some of the NFL's best wide receivers, including Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, were once viewed as purely slot receivers based on their height, or lack thereof. If Boyd can carve out a role as a perimeter receiver, it's possible guys like Cody Core, Mario Alford or James Wright could step up as the Bengals' slot receiver of the future.