Tyler Boyd (WR)
The most intriguing potential breakout candidate of 2016 is Tyler Boyd. Selected in the second-round (55th overall) of this year’s draft, many see him taking the No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver position, both left vacant after the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones via Free Agency. At 6-2 and 200 pounds, Boyd fits the bill perfectly.
The Bengals also added Brandon LaFell through the Free Agency period, and he will be his direct competition. Boyd will more than likely line up in the slot receiver position, previously held by Sanu, but will not be handed the position. Wide receivers coach James Urban has said that Boyd has impressed everyone, but needs to work on his outside game. He still hasn’t faced bump-and-run coverage just yet, and with the Bengals veteran corners being experienced in press coverage, he is likely to struggle.
In the last eight drafts, the Bengals have only selected a wide receiver twice in the first two rounds. Boyd is one and the other is star receiver A.J. Green in 2011. For Cincinnati to take a wide receiver so early shows the belief they have in Boyd and a plan to draw defensive attention off Green. At the moment, LaFell currently holds the No. 2 spot on the wide receiver depth chart, but Boyd has plenty of upside and could very well step ahead of LaFell after the OTAs.
All three players have the potential to take the next step in their careers, with Ogbuehi being the most likely considering how early he was drafted. For the Bengals’ sakes, let’s hope all three have breakout years and add to an already talented roster.