Boykin came in last year as a rookie and played very well at the nickelback position. He displayed fluid hips, quick feet and tremendous leaping ability that left many slot receivers realizing that this kid had talent. The former Georgia Bulldog is a very versatile football player who played all over the field at the college level. He played both outside and inside cornerback, punt returner, kick returner and also played a lot of offense. However, I see him only playing defense this season and he will most likely lose his kick returner job since he never really was able to make an impact.
A good question to ask ourselves is can Boykin play outside cornerback in the NFL? There have been rumors floating around that the Birds will give the young corner a chance on the outside during training camp. This should be interesting to see since Boykin had an impressive rookie season playing slot corner.
Even though Boykin never recorded an interception, he still had a solid rookie campaign. He excelled when he was playing on the inside because of his quick feet and short burst. The Eagles may build around him as a slot corner since they invested a lot of money this season into their secondary, but Boykin may prove to everyone this season that he’s talented enough to play both cornerback positions.
Boykin has already proved he take on top caliber slot receivers like Anquan Boldin and Victor Cruz, so why not give him a shot on the outside? The Eagles still have some question marks at cornerback even after they signed cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. Both Williams and Fletcher have shown inconsistency throughout their careers, but have managed to be good enough to start. Now Boykin has the skill sets to be an effective corner. He’s fast enough to keep up with quick receivers, but may struggle with the bigger and stronger ones. He lacks the ideal height for the position, but he makes up for it with his leaping ability.
New defensive coordinator Billy Davis will definitely find a role for Boykin whether it’s on the outside or inside, but he should absolutely give Boykin a shot on the outside, and if he excels, then the Eagles have a bright young corner in the making. The Eagles also have nothing to lose in this situation. If they find out that Boykin can only play slot cornerback, then that’s fine because he has the potential to be one of the best in the league.
Now if the Eagles find out Boykin can play outside cornerback look for the seventh-round rookie Jordan Poyer to take over the nickelback position. Poyer has the same skill set that Boykin did coming out of college and can be effective taking on slot receivers. It should be interesting to see if Boykin play on the outside, especially if Williams or Fletcher struggle this season.
Sonny Bryan is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com.
Follow him on Twitter @SonnyBryan50