The story of Brandon Boykin is a strange one.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft as a project at the cornerback position, Boykin was praised by scouts for his burning speed and his ability in man coverage. He believed he could come in and start at nickel corner immediately.
In his three seasons with the Eagles, Boykin played in all 48 games -- the majority of those at nickel corner along with six starts outside. Seven interceptions, 32 defended passes, and a simple request for more playing time at outside corner later, Boykin was surprisingly traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were in desperate need for help at cornerback.
Would Pittsburgh be the place for Boykin to thrive at outside corner? No, not in the slightest.
After rarely seeing the field in the first half of the season, Boykin began to rotate at outside cornerback for Pittsburgh and played well, but was eventually moved to his natural position as nickel corner, and did not disappoint. Boykin tallied five defended passes and an interception in the nickel package during the second half of the Steelers season, and almost always found a way to be near the ball to make plays.
Here are two angles of Boykin's lone interception for Pittsburgh. Boykin starts in the nickel and makes his way to the tipped ball on the outside, where he makes a great play and intercepts the pass:
Boykin has a knack for getting to the ball, no matter where it is on the field, and creating plays. He has great speed, which can be seen when he flies to the ball, as well as in his 40 time, where he ran a 4.4. While numbers may just be numbers, it is undeniable that Boykin carries elite speed in his toolbelt, and this speed is exactly what Jacksonville needs to revamp it's secondary.
If vines could be longer than seven seconds, I would show you this entire play, where Boykin intercepted the ball in the end zone and returned about 75 yards. However, you'll just have to take my word for it, and while you take my word, just watch how fast Boykin returns this pick:
If Boykin does hit free agency after a weird year in Pittsburgh, it will be interesting if Jacksonville makes a play on him. Due to his lack of starting time in his four seasons, as well as his lack of playing time in general last season, it's hard to think that Boykin will demand a large contract.
If the Jaguars make an offer on Brandon Boykin, it'll be interesting to see how the team will utilize him. Would the Jaguars plug Boykin in at his natural position of nickel corner? Experiment starting him outside and move Aaron Colvin to nickel corner? Pull a Pittsburgh move and rarely play him?
The bottom line is, Brandon Boykin has had himself a strange four years in the NFL. Perhaps Jacksonville could be a fresh start for this playmaking cornerback.