Take it back Tuesday: Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to the Steelers
After two seasons with the Eagles, cornerback Brandon Boykin was traded to the Steelers during the 2015 offseason.
When former Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Brandon Boykin was entering the NFL Draft in 2012, he was viewed as one of the top prospects at the position. Unfortunately on draft day, Boykin had to wait until the fourth round as 11 other cornerbacks were taken ahead of him. Eventually, the Philadelphia Eagles took him with the 123rd-overall pick. Some analysts have speculated that his size may have made teams shy away from taking the 5’9″ prospect.
When the Eagles took the chance on Boykin, he knew he had to show and prove that he was one of the better corners in the draft class. Although he didn’t get much opportunity on defense right away, former Eagles coach Andy Reid was open to using him as the return man on special teams. In his rookie season, he finished with 1,037 return yards via 45 attempts. His rookie campaign on defense wasn’t so bad either. He ended up finishing with 29 total tackles in 2012.
The turning point:
It wasn’t until the 2013 season when Boykin really stood out to Philadelphia’s fan base. He picked off six interceptions, giving him a tie for second overall in the league in that category behind the Seattle Seahawks‘ Richard Sherman. He also posted 42 total tackles, an upgrade in production from his rookie season. Boykin was really impressing the fan base and becoming a fan favorite. Unfortunately, his new head coach, Chip Kelly, didn’t share the admiration.
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Chip Kelly strikes again:
In 2014, Boykin was limited to playing the slot cornerback position. Although he thrived there, Kelly declined to give him the opportunity to play full-time on the outside. In 2015, the Eagles traded Boykin to the Pittsburgh Steelers for conditional fifth-round pick. He ended up having an average season in Pittsburgh, collecting 20 tackles and an interception. Boykin ended up hitting the free agent market after the Steelers declined to re-sign him.
Boykin would eventually struggle to find a permanent home in the NFL. In 2016, he signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, he was released before training camp. The Chicago Bears eventually signed him, but had to place him on their injured reserve list due to a torn pectoral muscle. He never played in a single game in 2016. It makes one wonder. Did Chip Kelly make the right decision to get rid of Boykin? It’s doubtful.
The Eagles are still struggling at the cornerback position and Boykin, by now, probably could have been one of the veteran leaders at the position. Although he never got his shot to play on the outside, he was still an excellent player in the slot. Over the past two seasons, the Eagles struggled to find a corner on their roster who can thrive in the slot. In fact, they’ve even had to use safety Malcolm Jenkins in certain situations since nobody else on the roster could fill in at that position.
Related Story: Former Eagles CB Brandon Boykin signs with Ravens
At this point, Boykin’s better days are behind him. He really never had the chance to develop into an NFL star. He recently signed to the Baltimore Ravens, but there isnt much that’s expected out of him on that defense. If Boykin would have stayed on the Eagles roster in 2015, he may have had plenty of opportunity to turn into the star that Philadelphia fans thought he had the potential to be. Then again, we’ll never know.