The Cincinnati Bengals are understandably experiencing a mild bit of transition on the offensive side of the ball after losing their offensive coordinator and two of their top three wide receivers during this offseason. One of those two wide receivers that they lost, however, was also a valuable gadget player for their offense.
That weapon would be fifth-year wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, a product of Rutgers, where at he occasionally served as a Wildcat quarterback, and he continued to be utilized in that role for the Bengals from time to time.
During his playing days for the Scarlet Knights, Sanu attempted a total of18 passes during his three seasons, completing nine of them—including seven of 11 over the course of his final two seasons—for 207 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions.
At the professional level, he has attempted five passes in four seasons, completing all five of them for 177 yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard touchdown pass during his rookie season. It is somewhat odd that he did not throw a pass last season, during which Andy Dalton missed several games.
Collegiately, Sanu also recorded 125 rushing attempts, the majority of them out of the Wildcat formation, and in that role he gained 653 yards, at over five yards per carry, and nine touchdowns. He has rushed for 153 yards on 26 attempts for two touchdowns, both last season, since entering the NFL, though he has not been an impressive return man on either level.
One cannot help but wonder if they had this sort of capability in mind when they happened upon Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd in the second round of the draft. After they were unfortunate enough to witness a run of three straight wide receivers taken ahead of them in the first round, they set their sights on Boyd for the first round of the second day of the draft.
With the Panthers, to be truthful, Boyd only attempted four passes, three last season, completing three of them for 96 yards. He also rushed for 520 yards on 63 attempts with one touchdown during his three years in college, again, much of that coming out of the Wildcat.
Last season alone, Boyd recorded a combined 131 touches with 91 receptions and 40 carries, both career highs for him. And where he differs from Sanu is that he has actually shown some ability as a return man, though 2014 was his best season.
Over three seasons, Boyd returned 46 kicks for 1124 yards, a 24.4 average, though in 2014 he averaged 27.6 yards. He also averaged 8.8 yards on 27 punt returns and a touchdown. In 2014, he returned 16 punts for 162 yards.
The Bengals are an offense that likes to spice things up from time to time, a fact that I believe will not change in spite of the change at coordinator after they promoted from within. Sanu was an important piece of their gadget offense, and I believe that Boyd can step into that role this season.