In 2016, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Tyler Boyd in the second round hoping that he could be the wide receiver to compliment Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green.
Things got off to a good start in his rookie season, but then tailed off in 2017.
In his rookie campaign, the former Pitt star caught 54 passes for 603 yards (11.2 yards per catch) and a touchdown. However, Boyd’s statistics dropped dramatically last year as he recorded only 22 receptions for 225 yards.
To his credit, Boyd has turned things completely around and is playing the best football of his young NFL career.
Two weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens, Boyd had six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with a six-catch and 132-yard performance on Sunday against the Colts. The 132 yards were a career high for Boyd.
— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2018
In three games this season, Boyd has 15 receptions for 249 yards (16.6 average) and two touchdowns.
What’s been the difference?
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with John Sheeran, who’s the Deputy Editor for SBNation’s Cincy Jungle (@CincyJungle) and analyst for the YouTube channel D&H Sports.
“After a very good rookie year things just feel off for him mainly with a lot of things that didn’t have to do with football,” said Sheeran. “That drug possession charge in Pittsburgh during the summer and we didn’t really find out about that until during the season when he was a healthy scratch for some games. All though out the year, something was just off with him last year, whether it was the coaches lack of trust in him, whatever it was, it had nothing to do with his talent.
“As soon as he arrived at training camp this year, things just seemed to go back to where things were for him during his rookie season. Ever since the last two games of last season and from everything we’ve seen so far this year, Boyd and Andy Daulton have created a nice chemistry on the field. We’re seeing all the positive qualities that were there when he was drafted out of Pittsburgh and a reason many believe he can be special.”
Most targeted pass catchers when their QB is under pressure, through two weeks (& TNF). pic.twitter.com/vV88UE0Lvq
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) September 23, 2018
Pitt fans had a chance to see Boyd develop into a great receiver which allowed him to get drafted so high. Bengals fans are starting to see Boyd’s talent. After watching him now for three years, I asked Sheeran what stands out to him about the former Clairton star.
“He’s a great route runner and that’s something that was evident during training camp. The separation he’s able to get is almost Stefan Diggs like and it’s all because of his feet and his hips,” said Sheeran. “The other thing is the awareness that he has of where he is on the field. When he gets that separation, he’s always looking back for the ball and that was evident with his touchdown on Sunday.”
— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) September 23, 2018
“I think those are just a couple of the things that are elevating him into a clear number two receiver in this league.”