Declaring for the 2013 NFL draft, Josh Boyce now enters a crowded receiving class that features a vast array of skill-specific prospects, many of whom can be expected to contribute right away as a rookie.
Boyce, himself, has a high upside to develop, along with solid production as a three-year starter.
After redshirting in his first season on campus, Josh Boyce developed into quite the vertical threat for TCU by posting over 600 yards receiving, 6 touchdowns and an average of 19 yards per reception. Since that 2010 season, Boyce has been a consistent receiving option for quarterbacks Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin (who replaced Pachall in 2012 due to Pachall’s dismissal from the team). In Boyce’s sophomore and junior seasons, he recorded in upwards of 890 yards receiving, over 60 receptions and more than 7 touchdowns in each season. With increased focus and attention from opposing defenses, as well as additional opportunities within the TCU offense, Boyce’s yards per catch decreased while receptions increased.
Moreover, despite receiving less quality targets than he did in the previous season, Boyce has done a strong job of maximizing his opportunities with quick, sudden hands and physicality at the catch point. Setting up his defender with a variety of release techniques, Boyce does a good enough job of avoiding contact early to stay on path and on time with his route running. And while his initial burst off the line can be unimpressive at times, Boyce’s ability to adjust and redirect to throws away from his frame, evidence the natural ability that he has.
In terms of what Boyce can bring to the NFL game, Boyce is a versatile, smooth athlete that has considerable experience running routes from the X, Z and slot receiver positions. Boyce impresses off the cuff with a bigger-than-listed frame, sharp change of direction skills and smooth athleticism. Able to gather and adjust to off-target throws with fluidity, Boyce more importantly flashes the hands and strength at the catch point to be an excellent possession receiver at the next level.
Still, Boyce isn’t without his warts as a prospect. Struggling from time to time with focus drops, as well as not fully extending and exposing his frame across the middle of the field, I’d like to see more consistency with Boyce’s hands and a more fearless nature in traffic. Deep speed isn’t a special trait of Boyce’s either, as he’ll likely time in the mid-4.5’s or higher in the 40.
Considering those focus drops and lack of elite top end speed, Boyce may find himself outside of the 2nd round; but regardless of those deficiencies, Boyce’s overall impressive looking frame, fluidity in route and natural change of direction skills, he can possesses the talent and skill set to develop into a fringe number two, but more likely a constant number three option in an NFL offense. A good 40 time in the high 4.4’s or low 4.5’s would go a long way in boosting Boyce’s current fringe 3rd round draft status, so that will likely be his focus in predraft season preparations.