An Early Look: Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

The number one guy catching passes for the Pittsburgh Panthers this fall is redshirt junior Tyler Boyd. Boyd stands at 6’2” and 200 lbs. This is Boyd’s third year starting for the Panthers, and he is considered to be one of the best receivers that could possibly declare for the 2016 NFL Draft. He will miss the first week of the regular season due to being suspended for a DUI in the offseason. Here are the 2014 season stats for Boyd:
  • 1,261 receiving yards off of 78 receptions
  • 16.2 yards per catch
  • 8 receiving touchdowns
  • 16 kick returns for 442 yards
  • 27.6 return average
Games scouted: Georgia Tech (2014), Miami (2014), Duke (2014), UNC (2014), Virginia Tech (2014), vs Houston (2014) Strengths: Boyd is a four-star recruit out of Clairton High School in Clairton, Pennsylvania. He is the best receiver to play at Pitt since the days of Larry Fitzgerald. He has a nice build for an NFL receiver, is tall enough, but could add on some more weight. He is a very proficient route runner and was asked to run multiple types of routes at Pitt. He runs crisp, smooth routes and does not take any unnecessary steps. He can make very quick moves to leave a defender standing in one spot, while he runs uncovered down the field. Boyd plays very loose, and the receiver position seems natural. He is a very good pass catcher, and for the most part, he catches the ball with his hands; it usually depends on where the ball is thrown. He is a receiver who can go up for the 50/50 ball and come down with it. Multiple times saw him beat double coverage and win the battle. he does well against zone coverage and can easily find the holes so his QB can get the ball to him. He does equally well against man coverage and can beat anybody one-on-one. He has faced some press coverage and does not seem to have a problem separating from it. He has some experience as a punt/kick returner. He is a very patient return man and waits for his lane to develop before going full speed. He is a durable receiver, has taken a beating in many games, and has endured it. Weaknesses: He will be suspended one game this season because of a DUI conviction. He is a very poor run blocker. On about 95% of run plays, the guy he was assigned to block ended up making the tackle. He doesn’t square up and block, instead almost lunging at the defender. He doesn’t put up a fight and is a pushover on run plays. It wouldn’t hurt for him to beef up a little bit more. He muffed two punts last season against UNC and Virginia Tech. He has some slight awareness issues, has had false start calls on him and holding calls in the blocking game. The Bottom Line: Boyd is one of the best receivers heading into next year’s draft. His route running, hands, and ability to go up and make a tough catch are excellent. However, his one off the field issue is a concern to me. If he can move past this, play good ball, and keep his nose clean, it won’t be as big of an issue on Draft day. Given the recent need for high quality receivers on NFL teams, Boyd is an easy first rounder. Granted, he may not have the explosiveness of Kevin White or the size of Breshad Perriman, but he is a consistent player who does not take plays off. I am extremely interested to see how he does this season against the very competitive ACC. This year, he will face off against some tough competition like Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame. With a new head coach, a more experienced QB, and some decent competition, I can see Boyd having another 1,000 yard season and about 10 receiving touchdowns. Pitt's offense will likely continue to run the ball first and pass second, but I still see a great season for Boyd. Austin Morris is the creator of The Scouting Lab. He is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached at amorris3585@scc.stanly.edu

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