All year long, most had predicted Pitt wide receiverwould be headed to the NFL with another good season under his belt. As the focal point of the Panthers' offense this season, Boyd again had a very good year and is now apparently going to the pros:
In 2015, Boyd had a career-best 91 catches for 926 yards and six touchdowns. He also added 349 rushing yards on only 40 carries for an 8.7 yard-per-carry average. Boyd also adds value as a return man as he filled that role on special teams all three of his years at Pitt.
There were a few rumblings out there from 'insiders' that Boyd could return next year. I never really bought that and while anything was possible, it just didn't seem that realistic. Boyd really would have been hard pressed to put up the kind of numbers needed to dramatically improve his draft stock. While he certainly could have improved a little bit, I'm not sure that coming back for another year would really have the sort of impact on his draft status that would make it worthwhile.
To me, Boyd has the look of someone that could go in the late first round to the third round right now. The first round could be a bit of a reach but when you look at a guy that previously went in the first round like Jonathan Baldwin who, despite having a great NFL frame, was less accomplished than Boyd, it's certainly not out of the question. Remember, all it takes is one team to fall in love with him during workouts and a good combine performance.
The ultimate gauge, of course, will be where he ends up in this year's Draft. But per Narduzzi's statement, he must have gotten the input on potential projections he was seeking after getting that information from the NFL general managers. I think the projections would have had to be very low for him to come back.
It would have been nice to see him back, but Boyd deserves a lot of respect for living up to the lofty expectations he received when he first came to Pitt. He made an immediate impact and was a factor from the first minute he stepped on the field. Four- and five-star kids don't always work out but Boyd was one that did.
Next up - football on Sundays.