Brandon Boykin (Georgia)
-- Courtesy of NFLDraftGab.com --
Height: 5092 Weight: 182 40 Time: N/A Bench: N/A Vertical: N/A Broad: N/A
Final Grade: 7.9
Projected Draft Grade: Second – Third
Building his four-year collegiate career on hard work and dedication, Boykin has progressed very well and has consistenly improved his play. Boykin was a Class 4A All-State selection in high school before enrolling at Georgia. Wasting no time, Boykin appeared in 13 games as a true freshman and was named to both the SEC and Director’s Honor Roll. In ’09, Boykin was named Georgia’s most improved special teams player and went on to break records as a return specialist that season. In ’10, Boykin was named the team’s most improved defensive player before the season and, again, earned a spot on the Director’s HR. Also that season, Boykin was the recipient of the Leavy Family & Brunswick News Scholarship. In 2011, Boykin was named a defensive captain and earned the True Grit Award in spring practice. Boykin would also earn the team’s Leon Farmer Award and Coaches Leadership Award, in addition to the Dooley Scholarship.
Physically, Boykin has all the tools to become a top-notch corner. Although he stands just shy of 5’10, Boykin has the speed, agility, coordination, leaping ability and natural feel to be successful at the position. Boykin typically plays with great balance, but can sometimes get himself turned around in coverage. He has the ability to climb the ladder with most receivers and his leaping ability gives him the chance to make a play on any ball. In his jumps, Boykin can contort his body to disrupt most passes. Boykin has a natural running motion with track-like speed and he can keep close with anyone in a straight line. Displayed in his kick and punt returns, Boykin has tremendous agility and he loses no speed when changing direction. He has the balance to make the slightest of moves and–combined with his speed–it can completely take a defender out of contention. For such a small-frame, Boykin is long and scrappy.
One of the biggest knocks on Boykin’s game is his strength. The leading contributor being his size, Boykin struggles to shed blocks and he can easily be taken out of the play. Against above-average route-runners at the next level, Boykin’s lack of strength will also be exposed when those receivers create separation with ease. On the flip side, Boykin can move like no one else on the field. Almost effortlessly, Boykin is flying at an incredible rate of speed and his performance/production rarely suffers from playing so fast. Boykin can read a play very early on and his reaction skills are superb. But when it comes to making a significant contribution (notably in run-support), that’s when Boykin’s struggles to get off blocks becomes a concern. Boykin is a perfect product of twitch-quick feet that can stop and move on a dime. His speed and long arms make for impressive range for an undersized corner and he has the hands of a receiver.
Given his size and lack of strength, Boykin is best-suited in a zone scheme. But as Boykin has said, he played under two DCs in college and both ran different schemes in terms of 4-3/3-4 and man/zone. Although not ideal in a man-to-man scheme, Boykin has the experience and the tenacity to play in it. His typical zone coverages allow Boykin to play off the ball and it highlights his impeccable read-and-react skills. When asked to be more aggressive and physical at the Sr. Bowl, Boykin delivered. Boykin can play up on receivers and press–making good use of his hands and arms. However, without strength and size, Boykin becomes susceptible in press- and man-coverage. In the situation that he does get beat, Boykin is a very effective closer. With speed that can hang with almost any receiver in the league, Boykin can regain lost ground and add in his length to cut his (potential) losses. With experience on both sides of the ball, Boykin has developed very good ball skills. Not only can he locate and react, but Boykin also has very sure hands for the cornerback position.
Boykin’s technique as a defensive back is unorthodox in the sense that he does whatever he needs to do to account for his lack of size and strength. As a tackler, Boykin typically can’t afford to square-up and he routinely heads for the opponents’ ankles. Against bigger opponents, Boykin only has a shot at drag-down tackles and he’s commonly a target of solid stiff-arms. In coverage, Boykin is guilty of getting turned around due to incorrect footwork and awkward anticipation from time-to-time, but his speed helps to retain control of the receiver’s area. Boykin is normally in good balance and his reads are usually accurate. Boykin can turn and run very well, demonstrating good fluidity in his hips in turns and breaks. Despite his size, Boykin is physical and gritty, showing very little caution when it comes to getting into the receiver and jabbing his hands effectively. Boykin’s use of hands is hard to gauge with limited press coverage and/or being moved so easily by larger receivers.
When coaches and scouts talk about intangibles, Brandon Boykin has it all. Arguably more impressive off the field than on it, Boykin is a very intelligent, well-spoken and hardwroking young man that happens to also be a damn good athlete. The recognition Boykin has received from his coaches, teammates and scholarships is a direct indicator of what kind of positive and productive person he is. Boykin is understands that he’s undersized as an NFL cornerback, yet his determination and hardwork nearly make it a non-factor. Although considered one of the better cornerbacks in the SEC, Boykin is accepting of coaching and always striving to improve his game and get better. As an athlete, Boykin is gifted. He has blazing speed with quick-twitch feet and the vision of a running back. His versatility speaks volumes for Boykin’s character and talent. His willingness and effectiveness as both a return specialist, defensive back, wide receiver and running back add value to his potential and prospectus in the NFL. At this point in his career, Boykin lacks the strength necessary to be a No. 1 corner at the next level, but polish after receiving solid coaching could improve technique and possibly trump the size barrier. Far from a technical tackler, Boykin plays with intensity and grit that translates to his attitude when it comes to wrestling opponents to the ground. By any means necessary, Boykin will get his nose in on the ball and attempt to make a tackle. Boykin is best-suited as a nickel cornerback in the NFL where he is able to give his opponent a cushion and react to a play. Boykin has stated that he is most comfortable covering the slot receiver on the inside, which is an uncommon liking for most corners. In terms of size and tendancy, Boykin is the perfect cover-corner in the slot and he also has the pursuit necessary to get to the quarterback (barring a block that will likely stop him in his tracks). Boykin has the hands of a receiver, the necessary vision and reaction time to make him a big-play threat whether you line him up as a return man, cornerback or seam-route runner.