The Colts that were before, are no more. My father-in-law, a casual football fan, called me yesterday to ask if he would recognize anyone in blue and white next season. I responded by asking him if he knew what Andrew Luck looked like. That got a laugh at least. With the amount of departures we have had, there's almost no point in enumerating positional needs. We need it all and lots of it. This is what we call roster turnover.
On to the prospect. Brandon Boykin out of Georgia came into pre-draft season as a projected late 1st/early 2nd round pick. A 3 year starter at CB in the SEC, Boykin tallied 159 tackles, 20 for loss and nine interceptions. Boykin was having a great week at the Senior Bowl, including being named one of the top 10 players at the game and cementing his draft status.
During the game, Boykin ended up breaking his leg (craked fibula) while running down on punt coverage. Brandon had said that he would be back in 3 weeks after meeting with doctors. The combine was 3 and a half weeks after the Senior Bowl. Not only did Boykin not do anything at the combine (Feb. 22) but he also did not run at Georgia's Pro Day (Mar. 6). Brandon did put up 16 bench press reps and commented that he was "85 percent" and was hoping to run in April. Before this injury, he had never missed a game in college.
One thing I like about Boykin is that his coaches named him Most Improved Special Teamer after the 2009 season, Most Improved Defender after the 2010 season and Team Captain for the 2011. It shows he is willing to learn and grow as a football player. He will need to evolve a bit to be successful at corner in the NFL.
While smaller than most people would like at CB, Boykin shows tenacity at the line by getting in the face of bigger WRs instead of using his projected sub-4.4 speed to catch up. He is most dangerous as a kick returner and that's where his real value lies. He won the Paul Hornung Award as the Nation's most versatile player after spending time at corner, kick returner, tailback, "wild-dog" quarterback, receiver and gunner.
On special teams, Boykin enjoyed one of the Southeastern Conference’s most successful careers. He finished as the top kickoff return man in conference history, including 38 returns for 850 yards in 2011. He also had 14 punt returns for 180 yards and a touchdown in his senior campaign. On defense, Boykin was a lockdown cornerback. He had three interceptions and nine pass breakups in the secondary while compiling 55 tackles, including 11.0 for loss. He forced two fumbles and also recorded a safety in the postseason matchup with Michigan State on a solo tackle.
After the jump, profiles from draft sites and my thoughts for the Colts. Don't forget to check out the 2012 Drat Profile Page.
National Football Post - Brandon Boykin
A compact, muscular looking corner who is willing to throw his body around as a tackler and mix it up at times physically. However, he doesn't breakdown well, struggles to consistently take proper angles in pursuit and can easily be bullied by receivers on contact. Plays much bigger/strong than his frame would indicate. Has the ability to press on the edge, but might be better suited to play as a slot guy in the NFL. Either way can play a role on a defense in either a man or zone scheme.
Pro Football Weekly - Brandon Boykin
Explosive, highly athletic, versatile cornerback with quick feet, short-area burst and outstanding leaping ability who offers slot experience and impact kick-return value. Has two concussions on record, and durability could be an issue, but has a terrific makeup.
NFL.com - Brandon Boykin
Boykin started for three years at cornerback for the Georgia Bulldogs. He is a superior athlete, even in the SEC, and relies on his speed and quick-twitched feet to cover. He is a very flexible and athletic mover who needs to improve his technique to cover at the next level the way he did in college. He is an intriguing prospect for teams who want to develop his technique and are willing to overlook his stature. He has value as a nickel corner immediately and should be selected near the middle of the third round.
My take for the Colts -
There are so many needs now, I feel like everyone is in play. Boykin intrigues me, but I worry about the injury taking some of his speed. His ability to hang with bigger receivers in the SEC (he limited Dez Bryant well before Dez turned pro) shows that he can play the position. His return ability would have been wasted on the old Colts due to a our terrible ST blocking. I hope that's a change Pagano can bring to our "New Era." If Boykin's personal pro-day can't happen by draft day, I look for him to fall and to have a shot later via a trade back for extra picks. I would look at him before the third.