Bengals: Why Tyler Boyd will reach new heights in 2020

Tyler Boyd is already one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, but the Bengals’ star could be poised to take the next step in Cincinnati.

Tyler Boyd has snuck up on the NFL the last two seasons, quietly becoming one of the best slot receivers in the league. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, nobody has done it better than Tyler Boyd in the slot since 2018. Cincinnati’s second-round pick has recorded over 1,000 yards in each of his last two campaigns.

Even with all the aforementioned achievements, 2020 could be a career year for the Bengals’ wideout. Much of the anticipation surrounding Boyd’s future is due to a change to a more accurate quarterback.

Last year Boyd was targeted a career-high 148 times, but only had a 60.8 catch percentage, which was a career-low. The previous year he had a catch percentage of 70.4, a career-best. If Boyd maintained his catch percentage from 2018, but still achieved the same number of targets, he would have had roughly 14 more catches for 162 more yards. This type of productivity increase is possible because of the accuracy of Joe Burrow.

A recent projection for Joe Burrow’s 2020 stats shows that his ceiling is a far more accurate passer than Andy Dalton was the last few seasons in Cincinnati. Last season at LSU, Burrow was over 10% more accurate than Dalton was in his best year at TCU. With accuracy as one of his best traits, Burrow should give his wide receivers more opportunities to make plays on the football than Dalton did.

The supporting cast takes some pressure off Tyler Boyd

Another thing helping Boyd this year will be a stronger wide receiving group than last year. A healthy A.J. Green, youthful Tee Higgins, and (hopefully) dynamic John Ross should create more space for Tyler Boyd to navigate on the field. Splitting the attention of the defense will only help Boyd get better matchups throughout the season.

With a stronger supporting cast and a more accurate passer, Boyd is in a good position to set career highs in yards and touchdowns this season. A season with over 1,100 receiving yards is a strong possibility based on previous catch percentages and usage rates. Matching his career-high of 7 touchdowns is also strong since there will be multiple targets in the red zone, allowing him to create better matchups. All in all, the elements are there to see Tyler Boyd put together a Pro-Bowl caliber year in 2020.