One of the most important battles of training camp in Cincinnati is taking place in the receiving corps. A rookie contender is starting to separate himself from the pack.
The statistics might not jump off the screen, but wideout Tyler Boyd is turning some heads. Just ask one of the guys throwing to him.
"Yeah, awesome player, does an awesome job of being in the right place, knowing what to do and how to do it and you can't say enough good things about 'T.B.' I mean, he's a workhorse and he listens to everything," quarterback AJ McCarron said after the Bengals' 30-14 win over the Lions on Thursday. "If I have anything to say he's always all ears and doesn't question it. He's awesome, can't say enough good things about him."
Eager to learn, the rookie is showing he has big-play potential that resulted in Cincinnati selecting him in the second round of the 2016 draft. Color commentator and former All-Pro linebacker Chris Spielman was quick to toss some praise in Boyd's direction after a tough sideline grab.
"Tyler Boyd is one of those guys where, if the ball is in the vicinity, he's going to come down (with it)," Spielman said on the broadcast Thursday. "Outstanding hands, really good run after the catch and a big target."
It's crucial for the Bengals -- especially after veteran wideout Brandon LaFellwent down with a torn ligament in his hand, which could sideline him if he elects to have it surgically repaired, or is a worrisome issue if he just goes the rehab route -- to find a viable, long-term replacement for the departed Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones opposite A.J. Green. It's a great scenario for a youngster like Boyd to launch his professional career.
"Well, he understands how to play football and does a good job," coach Marvin Lewis said of Boyd. "He's taking advantage of the opportunity he gets."