TCU wide receiver Josh Boyce recently had surgery to repair a broken foot, so he was unable to work out at his Pro Day. The speedster turned in one heck of a Combine, however, with a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 4.10 short shuttle, and 22 reps on the bench press. He’s a big play threat who averaged 15.7 yards-per-catch during his three-year college career but never topped the 1,000-yard mark in a season.
The best predictor of future success is past success. NFL teams way too often overlook players’ college production, particularly at skill positions. The stats for wide receivers in major conferences are actually more strongly correlated with NFL success than just about anything. When we see a player who was mildly productive but never caught more than 66 passes, 998 yards, or nine touchdowns in a season, we have to ask ‘why?’
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One reason we haven’t seen a ton of production from Boyce—at least not what we’d expect from a high draft pick—is that he’s just 5-11, 204 pounds. If you recall, I showed that there’s a very strong relationship between height and success for NFL wide receivers. Short, quick receivers can help to move offenses up the field, but they really have a difficult time in the red zone.
On tape, Boyce lines up all over the field, but he’ll likely be limited primarily to the slot in the NFL. He has good hands and appears willing to block in the running game.
NFL Comparison: Donnie Avery
Avery is a small, fast wide receiver who was severely over-drafted by the Rams. He’s never topped 781 yards in a season, primarily because he’s been forced into a role that doesn’t fit his skill set. Boyce is a similar player who could find more success if he’s used properly.
I’m surprised Boyce isn’t higher in scouts’ rankings. We saw Avery get drafted in the second round just a few years ago and he’s a very close comp for Boyce. Most teams seem to have Boyce rated somewhere in the mid to late-rounds, which is where I think he belongs as a talented but undersized player, but don’t be surprised to see him get drafted too high because of the straight-line speed.
Fit In Dallas
The Cowboys had Boyce in for a visit, but I don’t think he’s the type of wide receiver who could help them most. The Cowboys already have two small, shifty wide receivers in Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley, but they really need a third big option at the position in the event that Miles Austin or Dez Bryant go down. Still, Boyce could very well be an option I the fifth round or so.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.