The New England Patriots overhauled their wide receiver position in the 2013 offseason. There are huge expectations for free agent signee Danny Amendola, but outside of the former-St. Louis Rams’ wideout, it is unknown what to expect out of the receiving corps.
Could rookie Josh Boyce become a major component for the Patriots offense? New England drafted the former-TCU wide receiver with the 102nd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, snatching the wideout away from their division rival Miami Dolphins, who called him with a promise to draft him 104th overall.
The wideout position was not considered particularly strong in this past draft, so the Patriots ability to “steal” Boyce away from the Dolphins in the fifth round may not appear to be a big deal on the surface. However, Boyce may have what it takes to assimilate a complicated Patriots’ offense.
After drafting Boyce, head coach Bill Belichick called the wideout a “smart” player. Boyce scored an impressive 23 on the Wonderlic test at the NFL Combine, the second-best score among wide receivers, proving his high intellect.
Boyce played in a read-offense at TCU, far different from the Patriots’ offensive schemes. Nevertheless, he believes he is intelligent enough to pick up the Patriots’ offense quickly.
“I’m really smart so I think I can pick up things pretty quick,” Boyce said. “I see a lot things before they happen, so I think my mind is what’s working for me a lot of times.”
Boyce also asserted that he often had to run option routes based on the coverage at TCU, which is similar to what he could be expected to do in New England.
Playing for a great quarterback like Tom Brady in New England makes any wide receiver better. However, Boyce may excel in particular by playing alongside “Tom Terrific” because the wide receiver is used to teaming up with a highly skilled quarterback. Boyce was a high school teammate of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and played with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton at TCU.
Although Boyce missed rookie minicamp after breaking his foot at the NFL Combine, he was able to participate in the Patriots OTAs. During an off-day in the Patriots OTAs, the team agreed with Boyce on a four-year, $2.637 million contract with a $477,000 signing bonus.
Boyce will be competing for the No. 2 spot on the Patriots’ depth chart when training camp opens July 26th. If Boyce can prove in training camp to the Patriots coaching staff that he can be a reliable vertical field threat, he could see vast playing time as a rookie.