Why Jarrett Boykin remains underrated is a mystery to me.
Actually, there are probably a variety of suitable reasons.
His breakout campaign was one in which he got to play a remarkable three whole regular season games with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Some of Boykin's finest games were overshadowed by the Rodgers injury saga.
Perhaps most importantly to the media, watching Boykin just isn't all that exciting, unless you're a Packers fan. He doesn't high-point over cornerbacks like Alshon Jeffery does, he won't leave you in the dust like Cordarelle Patterson, and he certainly doesn't command double coverage in the vein of Calvin Johnson. He distinguishes himself from others by keeping his head down and going about his business, the type of work ethic that made him stick in Green Bay.
In a league that prides itself on the underdog (just look at the Zach Thomas comparisons heaped upon Chris Borland heading into this year's draft), it's still somewhat surprising that the Gil Brandts and Bill Barnwells of the world have nothing to say about the soft-spoken Virginia Tech wideout who has overcome a glacial 4.74 at the combine to establish himself as one of the league's top supporting receivers.
Just Another Guy?
The media seems to know that Jarrett Boykin exists. They just don't think he's anything worth talking about. The Giants' FanSided affiliate called Boykin 'underwhelming' when highlighting Jared Abbrederis as a possible fantasy football steal. Actually, they didn't even spell his last name correctly, unless they're referring to a Jarrett "Boykins" guy I've never heard of. We have to assume that a key reason that the Packers didn't make the cut on NFL.com's "Top 5 Receiving Corps" is that the staff didn't value Boykin (If they thought that Boykin was an above-average third receiver, they probably would've slotted Green Bay ahead of San Francisco, at least.) The consensus of the media is that Davante Adams should be more than enough to unseat Boykin from day one. Now, I'm a big Adams fan, but it seems downright disrespectful to consider Boykin a 'weakness' in the current lineup.
Let's compare five wide receivers (one of whom is obviously Jarrett Boykin.) All had less than 700 yards last season.
Player A: 57 catches, 673 yards, 11.8 YPC, 5 TDs, 44.9 YPG
Player B: 32 catches, 641 yards, 20.0 YPC, 5 TDs, 40.1 YPG
Player C: 54 catches, 633 yards, 11.7 YPC, 2 TDs, 52.8 YPG
Player D: 52 catches, 597 yards, 11.5 YPC, 3 TDs, 49.8 YPG
Player E: 49 catches, 681 yards, 13.9 YPC, 3 TDs, 42.6 YPG
Player A is Dwayne Bowe, who was the main receiver on his team. Player B is Kenny Stills, who drew raves for his fit in the Saints' offense last season. Player C is Danny Amendola, who was widely praised for providing Tom Brady a security blanket. Player D is Stevie Johnson; NFL.com believes that Stevie Johnson's "crafty game" makes him a valid number three. And Player E, of course, is Jarrett Boykin.
It's also valuable to note that Dwayne Bowe played fifteen games, Stevie Johnson played thirteen, Danny Amendola played twelve, and Kenny Stills played played all sixteen. And other than Stills, all the receivers compared to Boykin were first on their respective depth charts, yet none ran up the stats like he did, all while dealing with Scott Tolzien, Seneca Wallce, and Matt Flynn. All I can say is kudos.
Does it Matter?
Probably not. The Packers love to fly under the radar, and it's clear that Mike McCarthy supports Boykin. If you watched the second half of the Ravens game, you could see how out of sync Boykin and Rodgers were. It was like watching a train wreck. That's why it was all the more impressive to see him grab eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown the next week, and then notch 8 for 112 a few weeks later. Boykin is soft-spoken, but he's clearly a hard worker. Regardless of whether ESPN offers him the same lip service they grant guys like Bowe and Stevie Johnson, opposing defenses will respect what Bucky Brooks won't: the talent of Jarrett Boykin.