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PFF ranks among Tyler Boyd NFL’s top-5 slot receivers

Tyler Boyd had a breakout year in 2018, and certainly did not fly under the radar.

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Boyd back up a solid 2017 season finale with an amazing 2018.

Boyd became the first Bengal not named A.J. Green to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards since Terrell Owens did it in 2010. This was largely due to Green missing seven games with a foot injury, but even when healthy, Boyd led the team in receptions for most of the season, and didn’t trail gar behind in yardage.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked Tyler Boyd the fourth-best slot receiver in the NFL this past season, only graded behind third-place Adam Thielen by half of a point.

According to PFF, the top ranked slot receivers were Tyreek Hill (91.3), Keenan Allen (82.8), Thielen (80.9), Boyd (80.4), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (77.8).

While PFF only graded these receivers based on their routes run from the slot, Boyd actually had a grade of 84.6 on the season if you take into account all of his routes run, weather from the slot or in the boundary. This made him the second-highest graded player on the team behind Green (85.2) and the 12th ranked receiver in the entire league.

Here’s what they had to say about Boyd:

Tyler Boyd’s breakout year with the Bengals was largely tied to his increased efficiency in the slot. He ranked second behind Hill in yards per route run at 2.00 and ranked eighth in passer rating when targeted (113.9) from the slot in 2018.

Boyd was specifically remarkable on third and fourth down, as his 84.6 receiving grade on such downs ranked second among receivers with at least 50 routes run in the slot on third or fourth down. He caught 20-of-36 targets for 14 first downs and two touchdowns from an inside alignment on the two money downs a year ago.

His money down rank coincidentally the same as his overall rank, but it shows how indispensable he was to the Bengals’ offense. Boyd quickly became Andy Dalton’s safety net and was just as, if not more, reliable on those downs than Green.

Boyd really opened up the offense for the Bengals, which is why they scored over 30 points a game when everyone was healthy. Boyd took the pressure off of Green, which hadn’t happened at the NFL yet. Not only was Boyd’s production good for his own benefit, but it was also helped Green and Dalton have great seasons.

But injuries stacked up, and the Bengals’ offense took a nosedive. Despite a general downtick in yards and points, Boyd’s production never slumped.

Unlike Hill and Allen, Boyd didn’t have consistent talent around him for the whole season. That makes his performance that much more impressive.

Thankfully for head coach Zac Taylor, he will have a lot of weapons to work with on offense. The question will be if he can put it all together.