Now in his third year in the NFL, former University of Georgia star cornerback Brandon “Bam” Boykin had an incredible 2013 season for the Philadelphia Eagles. Boykin is a gifted athlete who possesses unique versatility having played cornerback, running back, “Wildcat” quarterback, kickoff returner, holder, and covered both kickoffs and punts on special teams while at Georgia.
To University of Georgia fans, Brandon’s NFL success may come as no surprise as he holds the Bulldog’s records for 110 kickoff returns, 2,663 kickoff return yards, and 4 touchdowns on kick returns. He also has a fourth ranked 24.2 kickoff return yard average for the Bulldogs and has an SEC record tied for first with his 4 kickoff return scores.
The Eagles drafted Brandon in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft and he served as Philadelphia’s primary nickel cornerback throughout the 2013 season. His impressive third year included a team leading six interceptions which was also good for second in the league in spite of playing in only 51% of the Eagles defensive snaps. In November 2013, Boykin had a beautiful 76 yard interception returned for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers, which was my personal favorite.
Boykin has a knack for making key plays at important moments in games. He told reporters before OTA’s in May,
“You’ve got to feel like you’re the guy who is supposed to make the play. You’ve got to have that mentality that when the game is on the line, my teammates are expecting me to make the play.” He continued, “I’m always ready mentally to make that play.”
It’s my personal opinion that Brandon was the team’s best player in 2013. Yes, you read that right! Remember, I told you earlier about Boykin’s special team’s prowess in college; he continued that trend in the NFL as he was perhaps one of the league’s best gunners. Although the Eagles special teams were the Eagles weakest overall group, Boykin and punter Donnie Jones managed to pin opponents inside their own 10 yard line 11 times. Boykin had a substantial contribution on special teams and altered the outcome of many games.
In his nickel cornerback position, Boykin was even more impressive in the spotlight. Again, he only played half of the defensive snaps and had the second most INT’s in the NFL! It’s astounding what Brandon was able to do with so few snaps. His biggest interception of the year may have come against the Dallas Cowboys which clinched the NFC East for Philadelphia. He described the play in an interview,
“You could say that last game against Dallas when I got that interception, I was actually playing Cover 5 and I was supposed to be inside leverage, and I was more outside head up. But I undercut, took a chance, and made the play.”
What the Eagles got with Brandon Boykin last year was a special teams ace, and one of the brightest spots on a struggling ST squad, along with one of the most dangerous nickel cornerbacks in the NFL who at any moment could snag an interception and take it the full length of the field for a touchdown. I believe Brandon Boykin was the team’s 2013 defensive and perhaps even special teams MVP, and deserves more playing time moving to the outside corner position. If he can improve upon last season, Boykin might end up as the league’s defensive MVP.