The months leading up to the NFL Draft offer players a chance to skyrocket or plummet as a prospect in general managers‚Äô eyes.
Brandon Boykin is fine letting his four seasons of game footage at Georgia speak for itself with the draft starting Thursday.
‚ÄúPeople show up at the combine and have a great showing and people think their stock is rising so much, but the end all, be all is that film,‚Äù Boykin said. ‚ÄúI put a lot of good film in people‚Äôs hands. The Senior Bowl did a lot for me, so they know I‚Äôm a great player.‚Äù
Boykin is presenting for consideration a speedy cornerback who is a dangerous threat as a returner and even on offense. His draft standing seemed to be going up with his showing during Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., before he cracked the fibula in his right leg covering a punt in the Jan. 28 all-star game.
That kept Boykin from working out at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in late February and at Georgia‚Äôs pro day on March 5 except for the 16 lifts he did in the 225-pound bench press. He didn‚Äôt hold an individual pro day either, saying some teams told him there was no need to work out.
‚ÄúThey know what type of player I am, they know I‚Äôm fast, know I‚Äôm athletic,‚Äù Boykin said.
Boykin said he was scheduled to visit last week with Carolina, Detroit, New England and San Francisco among others.
The 5-foot-9, 181-pound Fayetteville product scored four touchdowns on kickoff returns during his career and another as a punt returner in his last college game in the Outback Bowl when he went 92 yards for a score and was named game MVP despite being on the losing side.
‚ÄúBoykin‚Äôs fast. Every time I watch Boykin, it‚Äôs all I can think of. He‚Äôs just so fast,‚Äù ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. ‚ÄúEverything he does is fast. I think his instincts need to improve. I know his instincts need to improve. He‚Äôs late diagnosing some throws. When they put him in the zone, he can get lost a little bit, and that‚Äôs not really his strength.‚Äù
Teams are looking at Boykin as a nickel corner, but the Paul Hornung Award winner for nation‚Äôs most versatile player is much more than that. He caught two touchdown passes last season and ran for another touchdown.
‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre just judging him as a true corner, he‚Äôs probably a third-, maybe late third-, fourth-round (draft selection), in that range,‚Äù McShay said. ‚ÄúBut his athleticism and versatility and the ability to help on special teams is why I‚Äôve got a late second-, early third-round grade. I think he has a chance to come off the board in that late second-round range.‚Äù
Boykin is also pegged as a second- or third-round pick, along with cornerbacks Casey Hayward from Vanderbilt and Josh Robinson from Central Florida, according to Mike Mayock of the NFL Network.
‚ÄúSize is the only thing that I think is going to push him maybe into the third round,‚Äù ESPN‚Äôs Mel Kiper said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a good return man. He certainly did a good job in coverage during his career, but at 5-9 and change, about 180, 185 pounds, that will probably push him down a bit. But his punt return skills, his overall return skills, kickoff returner, as well. I like his feisty approach. I like the way he gets after it. He‚Äôs got a lot of confidence in his ability, played a lot of good football in the SEC.‚Äù
Boykin had three interceptions in each of the past three seasons, but there are questions about his ball skills and, given his size, his durability.
‚ÄúJust this season a couple of teams asked me about the picks that I dropped,‚Äù Boykin said. ‚ÄúI dropped one at Florida that was pretty big and Mississippi State. Other than that, a lot of teams just been saying they were going to utilize me in many ways: offense, defense and special teams. Wherever I go, I‚Äôll be able to contribute on both sides like I did in college.‚Äù