Miles Boykin – The Dark Horse
The Baltimore Ravens have a long and unfortunate tradition of drafting bust after bust at the wide receiver position. As the new guard took over for the old in the Ravens’ front office, Eric DeCosta understood that he had to immediately change Baltimore’s 20-year history of failure at the wide receiver position. The first-year general manager immediately attacked the first three rounds of the 2019 draft. DeCosta hedged his bets on two receivers. One is the prolific speedster out of Oklahoma, Marquise Brown, whose skill set can bring excitement to the most boring offenses. This pick got the most attention, but what many on the national stage forget is that Baltimore added Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin in the third round.
The attributes and skillset that Boykin posses made him an intriguing new player for the Ravens. By the time the offseason program began, that intrigue gave way to hype. While Brown was on the sideline at the start of camp, Boykin was dominating. It became expected to hear after every practice that Boykin looked great. Boykin’s performance in camp drew increased attention to the rookie wide receiver, and his teammate Willie Snead even went so far as to compare him to the Saints’ Michael Thomas. Boykin has a long way to go before he can claim to be as impactful as Michael Thomas, but Ravens fans should be excited to see what he can bring to the offense this season.
Here are Miles Boykin’s Combine stats and measurables:
- Height – 6’4”
- Weight – 220 lbs
- Arms – 33 1/2”
- Hands – 9 7/8”
- 40-yard dash – 4.42 s
- Bench press reps – 12 reps
- Vertical jump – 43.5”
- Broad jump – 140.0”
- 3 Cone Drill 6.77 s
- 20-yard shuttle – 4.07 s
First and foremost, Miles Boykin is a big man. The receiver immediately commands respect once he steps on the field, as Boykin is 6’4″ tall, and 220 pounds heavy. Boykin’s size is a major benefit, as it makes him a viable possession and jump ball target. Quarterbacks should feel comfortable throwing to Boykin, as the former basketball player can use his frame to box out defenders and haul in the football. However, as it will be elaborated on later, this is not always the case. When it is the case, Boykin can often be seen leaping for catches. He jumps high and extends his long arms to make catches over the backs of defenders. Boykin’s big frame is also useful in the blocking department. When one watches him on film, one will constantly see him go out of his way to make an effective block for the ball carrier. This is very important to the Ravens offensive scheme, as Baltimore will look to be dominant on the ground with Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill running with the ball.
Surprisingly, Boykin has great body control for his size. He also has great awareness on the field, and the mix of these two characteristics allow for some out of this world plays. Boykin is especially good at forcing jaws to drop on the sideline. He has an incredible tendency to catch the ball, and with ballet-like moves, get his feet in bounds before his upper body falls out of bounds. Boykin is also very athletic for his size. He ran an impressive 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. Boykin has solid hands when he is making uncontested catches, a necessity for a receiver in the National Football League. Finally, Boykin has a very high football IQ. He was known to change his approach to a route to counter how a defensive back lined up on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
Where Boykin fails to shine is in the more complex functions of his role. As a big-bodied receiver, he is expected to win jump balls. He does win jump balls, but not all of them. There are quite a few instances on his tape where Boykin even fails to make a real effort at attacking a jump ball. Furthermore, on jump balls he is in position to win, Boykin displays issues with drops, as many are broken up by out of position defensive backs who should have no business enforcing their will on a bigger and stronger Boykin. Boykin is simply not aggressive enough in these situations to make him a great jump ball receiver. This deficiency can be remedied with the right coaching, but it will likely take time.
What cannot be fixed is his low acceleration. As a massive wide receiver such as Boykin will never have a high acceleration, but it is disappointing that he cannot speed up fast enough to always utilize his top speed. This low acceleration also means that Boykin will be unable to make quick moves after the catch. Boykin will not pile up run after catch (RAC) yards as Marquise Brown can. Furthermore, Boykin rarely wins battles for extra yards in head-on collisions. While these athletic weaknesses are concerning, Ravens fans should remember that these aims are not part of Baltimore’s plan for Boykin anyway.
Boykin was brought into Baltimore to develop into a solid possession and jump-ball receiver. He has the perfect frame for it and is fairly athletic enough to make plays in the NFL. However, he needs to learn to be more aggressive in difficult matchups. Boykin fell to the third round of the draft because he is not athletic enough in any specific trait to demand a first or second-round grade. However, Boykin is a receiver with massive potential in the NFL, as his main issues are correctable.
Prospect Grade – 6.3/10.0
Baltimore made a fair value pick, as they picked a third-round worthy receiver in the third round.
Selection Grade: B+
Special thanks to Dominic, aka @RavensAnatomy for the graphics used in the video and as the thumbnail!