The Enigma of Brandon Boykin

In a surprising turn of events CB Brandon Boykin was released by the Carolina Panthers last Monday, May 16th, just 2 months after being signed to a one year deal.  With the Miami Dolphins still in need of a good cornerback, this presents an interesting opportunity for the Dolphins….maybe.

Boykin has had his ups and downs since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.  In his freshman year he recorded 31 tackles, 1 sack, 7 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble.  Then he had his best year his sophomore year when he racked up 42 tackles, 16 passes defended, 6 INTs for 136 yards and 2 forced fumbles and was ranked one of the top slot corners in the league by Pro Football Focus.   He had a PFF coverage grade that was second only to Vernon Davis.  Things were looking good for Boykin.

Unfortunately, the oddness in his career began just after the 2013 season.   Even after such a prolific year, the Eagles decided to trade him to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional late round draft pick.  Then after the Steelers got him it was widely expected that Boykin would be a starting CB for them, but for some reason they choose not to start him a single game and yet through limited play he still ended 2014 with 42 tackles, 9 passes defended, 1 INT and 1 forced fumble.

Then in 2014  for some reason Pittsburgh seemed even more reluctant to play Boykin, using him on just 23 snaps through Week 12, before injuries forced their hand and they started giving him playing time.  He finished out the end of 2014 strong with a total of 25 tackles, 1 sack, 5 passes defended, 1 INT and 1 forced fumble.

Finally the Steelers released him at the end 2015 and he was subsequently signed by the Panthers who then turned around and released him 2 months later before he even took one practice snap with them.

That is the enigma of Brandon Boykin. He has the talent to become one of the elite CBs in the NFL.  This can be seen in what Pro Football Focus has to say about him;

The now former Panther has a positive PFF grade in every season of his career, and hasn’t been beaten for a pass longer than 33 yards over the past two seasons, a timespan over which he has allowed just one touchdown.

However, despite his talent, team after team doesn’t seem to want to keep him.  It begs the question of whether or not there are off-field problems that haven’t been made public.    What else could make so many teams pass on such a potentially good talent?

So, should the Dolphins join the Falcons (who are set to meet with Boykin) in taking a hard look at signing him or should they pass on what he could bring to their struggling secondary?  Miami has already taken a chance this year on Laremy Tunsil, maybe it is time to take another chance.





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