It has been rare this season, but there was a Josh Boyce sighting when the New England Patriots played the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Based on what he did in this game, Josh McDaniels might want to think twice before making the rookie wide receiver a non-factor.
Boyce took over the “X” wide receiver position due to the absence of Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, and he did not embarrass himself. He recorded three receptions for 49 yards on five targets. One of those targets was intercepted by Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. Tom Brady tried to force the football over the middle to an open Boyce, but he failed to account for the amount of range that Jackson had as the linebacker simply ran right into the football. Boyce’s last target came on a highly-disputed play toward the end of the game. Brady tried to throw one deep to Boyce, but the football was overthrown. However, the referees called a defensive pass interference on Leon McFadden who only appeared to hold Boyce.
Nevertheless, Boyce did show some things in this game. After one of his three receptions, Boyce flashed some open-field elusiveness, bouncing around defenders for a nice gain. The young receiver was also open on the play that resulted in pass interference. So he showcased both the ability to make defenders miss in the open field and the ability to get open deep.
Bill Belichick probably thought of Boyce as a situational deep threat, kick-returner type of player when he selected Boyce in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. However, it would be wise for Boyce to at least get involved in the offense. Thompkins has shown some ability to be the No. 3 wide receiver, but there is a reason why Belichick drafted Boyce and not Thompkins. So now it is time for McDaniels to give the fourth-round rookie a chance to prove himself.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.