If the Green Bay Packers draft Miles Boykin in April, it will solidify the idea that general manager Brian Gutekunst has a type when it comes to wide receiver.
Last year, Gutekunst drafted three receivers on the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft, all of whom possess excellent size and speed characteristics. Between J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown, Green Bay landed a trio of talented but raw players in the hopes that at least one would develop into a major contributor down the road.
Of course, the team needed MVS and EQ to step in and play a bigger role as rookies than initially imagined. Injuries to Geronimo Allison, Randall Cobb, and even Jake Kumerow forced the first-year players onto the field in key situations. Valdes-Scantling looked like the budding star early on, while St. Brown refined his game as the year went along and appears to be a breakout candidate in 2019.
Perhaps no other wideout in the 2019 NFL Draft class evokes memories of these two players than St. Brown’s college teammate Miles Boykin. At the NFL Combine this year, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Notre Dame prospect put up a workout every bit the equal of either of those Packers’ draft picks, displaying impressive results in each and every testing drill. Take a look at these numbers:
With only his bench press reps coming in below the 75th percentile, Boykin earned an RAS value of 9.93. Aside from a slightly slower 40 than Valdes-Scantling’s 4.37 and a couple of bench press reps, Boykin exceeded MVS’ performance in every other drill. In fact, his overall combination of physical traits compares well to players like Andre Johnson and even Calvin Johnson. So with that in mind, why is he not getting buzz as a possible first-round pick?
One answer is his production. Boykin was essentially a one-year wonder for the Fighting Irish, as he did not earn significant and consistent playing time until his junior year in 2018. Still, last season he posted 59 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns, a solid number.
The other key for Boykin is clearly identified by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who uses Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay as a closer comparison. Zierlein notes that Boykin’s challenges come in the area of physical play: “he will have to learn how to counter press ... and become more competitive when the ball is in the air.”
If the Packers are looking for a slot receiver, Boykin probably is not that player. But if they see their current receivers as being capable of playing inside and outside — perhaps using Jake Kumerow in the slot or lining up St. Brown and Jimmy Graham as “big slot” options inside — Boykin could provide further intriguing size and athleticism as he develops in the finer points of playing wide receiver.
As for when Boykin will come off the board? He revealed at the Combine that he received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft advisory board. However, CBS Sports ranks him as the 17th wide receiver in this class, with an overall ranking of 136th putting him as a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick. That is right in the range of where Gutekunst drafted his receivers a year ago.
Ted Thompson had great success drafting receivers on the second day of the draft, while Gutekunst is off to a good start on day three. Boykin could be another great find on that final day.