Eleven cornerbacks were picked ahead of Eagles breakout playmaker Brandon Boykin in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has a list of their names – Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick, Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Josh Robinson, Jamell Fleming, Bill Bentley, Jayron Hosley, Omar Bolden and Coty Sensabaugh – hanging above his bed.
Boykin had a stellar career at the University of Georgia and was projected as a second- or third-round pick. He fractured his leg at the Senior Bowl, however, and could not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine or Georgia's pro day. That, combined with Boykin's height, 5-foot-10, and weight, 185 pounds, depressed his draft stock. We've seen it so many times before when teams pass over a supremely gifted player because he suffered an injury in the pre-draft process or is "too small" and then end up regretting it once he fully recovers and shows he's the same player in the NFL that he was in college. You know, it's the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight.
It has been well documented that general manager Howie Roseman and his player personnel staff had Boykin as the highest-rated player on the board, by far, and were sweating it out until their selection in the fourth round, 123rd overall, at which time they hastily turned in the card with his name on it. Every other team's loss has been the Eagles' gain. Boykin is now an integral part of Bill Davis' defense and has made momentum-shifting and game-saving plays throughout the season. He's also the best gunner on special teams and has downed a number of punts deep inside the opponent's territory.
"He's contributed on every level with this team," fellow cornerback Cary Williams said of Boykin, "whether it's special teams or the return game; being a gunner or a nickel defensive back coming in the game and locking people up. Our season wouldn't be the same if we didn't have him. He's played tremendously, and we lean on that guy to play really well in the slot. He's done a tremendous job."