But with Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and William Fuller flying off the board right in front of them, they elected to take the best available player in William Jackson and wait on wide receiver until Round 2.
That is where they drafted Tyler Boyd. The second rounder has taken his fair share of criticism, as he has not been able to step up to the plate and make people forget about the players they replaced, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones.
Boyd has spent the beginning of his career in Ken Zampese’s offense. With Bill Lazor now calling the shots and a new wide receiver coach Bob Bicknell, Boyd may be poised for a breakout season. Here are some examples of what Boyd can do.
Boyd’s athletic ability his very much underrated. In the clip below, he starts with an outside release before taking a few steps towards an inside release. This gets the corner in bad position and allows Boyd to come back to the outside release. There is an impressive subtlety to the stem and is effective in getting Boyd the release and position he wants.
Boyd can also get a good release in press coverage. Here he defeats the press coverage for an inside release before cutting back to the outside. His initial inside release threatens the defender enough that he overpursues which leaves Boyd wide open when he cuts back to the outside. Boyd makes the catch and immediately turns upfield.
Boyd is a skilled route runner. In the clip below from the Bengals’ first preseason game, he is lined up at the bottom of the screen. He presses the cornerback and steps hard to the outside.
This is just enough to get the cornerback to open his hips to the outside, which slows him down enough that he is out of position to make a play on the slant. The result is a touchdown reception for Boyd.
In the clip above, the ball was right on target, but that will not always be the case. Boyd has shown the ability to adjust to poorly placed balls and make the catch. In the clip below, he adjusts to the ball that was thrown behind him and makes the first down reception.
Boyd has also demonstrated that he can make tough catches with defenders hanging on him. Here defender is running stride for stride with him. The defender makes contact at essentially the same time that the ball arrives and brings his right hand over Boyd’s shoulder to attempt to knock the ball out.
Boyd makes the catch, turning his shoulder into the defender which shields the ball from being knocked out of his hands.
Concentration plays a big part of making clutch catches. This is a ball that shouldn’t have been thrown and a great break by Cowboys defensive back Anthony Brown. Brown is able to dislodge the ball from Boyd’s hands and for a moment looks like he will make the interception, but as the ball slips from his grip it bounces onto Boyd’s torso.
Despite taking a bit shot and rolling on the ground, Boyd has the presence of mind to get his hands on the ball and makes the catch.
Boyd is underrated athletically, but can be elusive with the ball in his hands. In the clip below, he has to turn back to make the catch and defenders are breaking on him from three different angles. He turns the ball up field edging around the first defender and then shows great burst to out run the others.
Many have been too quick to write off Boyd as a productive member of this receiving core, but he has the skillset to make a major impact. Boyd is an excellent athlete who can make tough catches and makes plays with the ball in his hands.
With a new play caller and a new position coach this could be the year that Boyd silences his critics.