clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Would You Rather: Brandon LaFell or Tyler Boyd as the Bengals’ No. 2 WR

Brandon LaFell is a proven commodity for a team looking for another run at the playoffs. Tyler Boyd is an unproven rookie with a high ceiling. Which would you rather see get the bigger workload in 2016?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

In our series investigating "would you rather" questions, we look today at the wide receiver position and ask, "Would you rather see Brandon LaFell or Tyler Boyd become the Bengals’ second receiver behind A.J. Green this year?"

Would you rather questions have no middle ground. You can’t opt out and choose "both" or "neither". Instead, you have to pick one of the two options. So, you can’t choose both LaFell and Boyd getting equal playing time and producing similar results in 2016. You have to choose which one you would prefer to become the clear No. 2 on the team.

Brandon LaFell

The six year veteran is what you want in a second receiver, a solid experienced player from a winning tradition. He comes from three straight 12-4 seasons, including two with the Patriots, and his last year in Carolina. He knows what it takes to be part of a winning team, and joins another team coming off a 12-4 season looking to keep the winning alive.

LaFell has never been "the guy" in any of his previous stops, playing behind Steve Smith and Greg Olsen in Carolina, and behind Rob Gronkowski in New England. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any diva issues, but LaFell should seamlessly fit into the productive No. 2 assignment as Marvin Jones’ replacement.

Ever since his rookie season, LaFell has averaged almost 700 yards per season, reaching as many as 953 yards only two years ago. He is also very secure with the football, only fumbling three times in 278 career receptions.

LaFell brings the winning tradition and veteran presence that the Bengals need at a position filled with a bunch of unproven, unknown receivers. He clearly needs to get the majority of the work behind Green, and be the Bengals' No. 2 receiver.

Tyler Boyd

For all that is made about the Bengals drafting players to sit them, that generally applies to their defense, not their offense. The list of offensive starters who made a contribution right away includes Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Clint Boling, Russell Bodine, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, Ryan Hewitt and so on. LaFell was signed as a stop-gap, not knowing how the draft would play out. But the Bengals managed to land Boyd in the second round, so they should obviously use him.

Boyd has more upside than LaFell, which means that he needs to get playing time. Consider that Boyd compiled 34% more college receiving yards than LaFell, despite playing one less season, and also provides extra contributions as a runner, rushing 63 times in college for an impressive 8.3 yards per rush average. Boyd enters the league as a skilled receiver who was able to produce, despite some less than ideal support on his college team.

Decision time

We already know what LaFell brings to the table – an adequate backup receiver, who averages about 45 catches and 650 yards per season. That’s nice, but Boyd can be more than that. In today’s pass-happy NFL, receivers no longer need a year or two before they are productive – just take a look around the league to see receivers who have had success from day one.

Boyd brings more upside and should be ready to play right away. He clearly needs to get the most work of any wide receiver not named A.J. Green, and be the Bengals' No. 2 receiver.