CINCINNATI -- The night Tyler Boyd was drafted, the former Pitt receiver was jokingly asked by Cincinnati Bengals media on a conference call if there was anything he wasn't asked to do by his college coaches.
"He's carried the football, thrown the football -- he's done it all there," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said earlier in the evening.
While the quasi-rhetorical question to Boyd might have caused a chuckle or two last Friday night, he could become Cincinnati's latest do-everything wide receiver.
Mohamed Sanu was the Bengals' previous Swiss Army knife as a playmaker, catching passes, throwing them, lining up as a Wildcat quarterback and running zone-reads. While it might take some time, Boyd could play a similar role in a Bengals offense that looks to build upon the successes it had with Sanu and Marvin Jones before they left in free agency earlier this year.
"They can utilize me in a lot of different ways, create a lot of mismatches, create a whole bunch of problems the defense can't figure out," Boyd said. "I can definitely ease the stress off of A.J. [Green]. Just move me around anywhere -- slot, outside or running back -- anywhere just to create mismatches."
Receivers coach James Urban and offensive coordinator Ken Zampese are already planning to do that.
"There's Sanu-esque things in the versatility he provides," Urban said. "We think we got a good football player, and we're going to find ways to take advantage of his skill set."
Even with the end-arounds and other handoffs aside. Pitt took full advantage of Boyd's skills as a receiver in 2014 and 2015. Last season, Boyd made 42.9 percent of the Panthers' receptions. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that was the nation's highest percentage. The year before that, he was only outpaced by Alabama's Amari Cooper, who starred with the Raiders as a rookie.
Bottom line: Boyd is used to having the football in his hands.
One of three Pitt receivers to be drafted in the first two rounds since 2004 (Larry Fitzgerald in 2004, Jon Baldwin in 2011), Boyd finished his college career atop the Panthers' all-time leaderboard in receptions (254) and receiving yards (3,361). And he did it in three years.
"The thing that stuck out to me was his football instincts -- his ability to separate sideways and laterally from defenders," Zampese said. "He's certainly not a finished product, but he's ours and we like him. We're going to drag him and push him and make him compete, and drive him to where we think he can be."
Although he can do just about anything with the ball in his hands, Boyd admits that off-ball blocking is area in which he could improve. At a shade under 200 pounds, he thinks his lack of bulk contributes to some of that. But bulk or no bulk, he would be wise to quickly broaden his repertoire.
"You've got to watch a lot of film to see what he does without the ball," Urban said. "He just wasn't asked to do a lot of those things that we're going to ask him to do. There will be a learning curve there. But we have full confidence that he'll do that."
Perfect his run-blocking and downfield blocking, a la Sanu, and Boyd really could be the Bengals' new Mr. Do-Everything receiver.