The 2016 NFL Draft was thought to have one of the weaker receiver classes in recent memory, and it didn't help that the Bengals didn’t get any of the big-time prospects in Round 1.
Then again, that depends on your definition of first-round ability, as Tyler Boyd was widely viewed as a Round 1 prospect during his first two collegiate seasons while shattering record after record with the Pitt Panthers.
We’ve seen a number of impressive plays from him during the Bengals training camp and the preseason, where Boyd has looked very impressive thus far. The national media is also starting to take notice, as evidenced by ESPN tabbing Boyd as the Bengals’ breakout player for 2016.
Wide receiver Tyler Boyd
The rookie receiver already has shown flashes in the preseason. Boyd has stood out in a thin group of wideouts. He had a sliding over-the-shoulder catch that set up a touchdown in the first preseason game against the Vikings, and he converted a third down with a diving catch to set up a touchdown against the Lions in the second preseason game. That's not surprising, as the second-round pick did that often in college and could keep it going in the NFL. -- Katherine Terrell
Boyd probably would have gotten consideration in Round 1 if not for an offseason DUI arrest in 2015, not to mention a drop in production in Pitt's more run-focused offense last year. All of this helped lead to the All-American falling out of favor leading up to the 2016 draft.
That didn't keep Boyd from being drafted with the No. 55 pick in Round 2 of the draft, giving the Bengals the impact receiver they needed to help replace Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
As a true freshman in 2013, Boyd caught 85 balls for 1,174 yards with seven touchdowns, earning him Freshman All-American first-team honors. Boyd then caught 78 balls for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014 while his 27.6-yard kickoff return average ranked 10th in the NCAA.
Even with all the issues in 2015, Boyd still finished with a career-high 91 catches as he solidified his status as one of this draft's best pass-catchers.
Prior to the draft, Boyd was ranked by most services as a prospect just outside the first-round range. ESPN’s Todd McShay had Boyd ranked as his 39th-best prospect, while Yahoo Sports ranked Boyd as their 40th-best prospect.
Boyd may not have the flash and pizazz that guys like Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson and Will Fuller had in this year’s draft, but Boyd is showing he can be exactly what the Bengals needed to fill their receiver void.