In the latest of my series of WR prospect analysis for Music City Miracles, today we’re going to look at Notre Dame receiver Miles Boykin. Boykin, 23, is 6’4 and 228 lb., and turns 23 in the month of October.
In his final season at Notre Dame, Boykin caught 59 passes for 872 yards (14.78 yards per reception) and eight touchdowns. Perhaps this is why he hasn’t had the draft hype of several of his peers, but believe it or not, I think Boykin is one of the best receiving prospects in this class.
It’s unlikely that Boykin gets drafted in the first round, but looking at his skill set he looks like a day 2 or day 3 steal. An issue that hampered his statistics—and hampered his draft stock as well—was that he didn’t receiver good quarterback play in his senior season of college.
Boykin is able to create separation off the line of scrimmage against the bail defender technique, and this throw should lead him instead of forcing him to adjust on an under thrown pass. It’s great a recovery from the corner, who’s most likely expecting safety help over the top and doesn’t get it, but if this pass was thrown accurately it would’ve been a touchdown.
Let’s look at another example of how Boykin’s quarterback situation gave him a raw deal.
This time Boykin—top left—is facing soft press. The corner waits for the WR to approach him in an attempt to jam his route. Boykin is able to win this matchup and gets outside leverage, so this should be a simple completion from the quarterback. Unfortunately, the QB badly under throws his target, and Boykin’s efforts in making a spectacular 50/50 catch come up a little short as he can’t secure the pass as he falls to the ground.
Boykin should never have been forced to adjust. He created enough separation for his quarterback, who ultimately let him down on this play.
Now let’s focus on positive plays while continuing the them of playing against press coverage.
Now, the reason I’ve focused a lot on press coverage is because succeeding against it in the college level has proven to be sustainable in the pro level. It’s a test to see if receivers are truly worthy of playing at a high level in the NFL, and Boykins played phenomenal against press in his senior season.
This time Boykin is facing off against quick-jam press. As the corner attempts to cut off Boykin’s route, Boykin wins the hand matchup with a wipe move, getting a step on the corner. Thankfully, we’ve arrived at an example where the quarterback throws with precision, and the receiver makes a nice tight catch to move the chains.
It’s been noted that Boykin doesn’t have the fastest tape of the receiving class, but don’t believe the claims that he’s struggled to create separation. As the three clips I’ve provided have shown, he was masterful when asked to face off against various types of press coverage, and that is something that will go a long way in the NFL.
In addition to being an impressive route runner, Boykin offers a nice big target with expert tenacity at the catch point. His timing on this touchdown catch is perfect as he goes up with his frame and uses his strong hands to secure the pass as he goes to the ground for the score.
From 2017, this play is an anomaly for any receiver (for the most part), but it shows off Boykin’s wide catch radius. This is essentially thrown behind him and yet the receiver just casually one hands the pass before bulldozing his way through two defenders for the touchdown.
Ultimately, if the Titans don’t draft a receiver in the first round but are still looking for one on Day 2 to match with Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis, Miles Boykin is the guy they have to draft. His excellency against press coverage, strong hands and consistent separation make him one of the more appealing receivers I’ve watched from this class, and his ability to separate against tight coverage would greatly open up a Titans passing game that was mostly conservative in 2018.
He can’t match the speed of Marquise Brown, but Boykin still does more than enough things that will easily translate to the NFL, and I think he’s going to be one of the year’s biggest draft steals.