Packers can count on Jarrett Boykin in 2013
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor
~A year ago, you couldn’t find a Packer fan in Wisconsin anywhere who had even heard of Jarrett Boykin. He was an undrafted receiver who would get a short, three-day look in Jacksonville, before being released quickly last May.
Boykin, Virginia Tech’s all-time leading receiver, went undrafted because he ran a 4.7 40-yard dash at the combine in February. He should have been taken at least sometime on day three, and sadly for him, Jacksonville has not been able to properly evaluate both receivers and quarterbacks for a decade now.
He eventually tried out with the Packers during their rookie orientation camp, and was signed.
Still, he still appeared a safe bet to be an early cut as the Packers had the deepest receiving corps in the NFL, including youngsters Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel on the depth chart.
Both Gurley and Borel had been offered contracts by other teams to leave Green Bay’s practice squad, but they chose to stay in Green Bay where the MVP would be throwing them balls. They appeared to be the next-in-line guys at wide receiver for the team, behind Driver, Jennings, Nelson, Jones, and Cobb.
Once preseason arrived, Boykin started to open some eyes, both of fans and coaches.
Despite only playing with backup quarterbacks Graham Harrell and rookie B.J. Coleman, Boykin flat-out produced.
It was the final preseason game, against Kansas City, where he sealed the deal as an against-the-odds success story and made the team. Against the Chiefs, with Harrell slinging the ball, Boykin had five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown, seen here.
He didn’t get much playing time during the regular season, however, as Cobb, Jones, Jordy, and Jennings were still the main targets at receiver, as well as tight end Jermichael Finley. But he was called on in week 17 at Minnesota in a big play, a 4th down play with 5:45 to go, and he produced with a 7-yard reception for a key first down.
He was interfered with on the play which brought a penalty, but he also got his foot stuck in the terrible turf in the Metrdodump and was injured, pretty uglily. It ended his game and season, but turned out it wasn’t as serious as feared, apparently. (Play shown below in this photograph)
But now Jennings has gone purple, and Driver has retired. Boykin, if he makes any progress as expected, should be the fourth guy at WR and be a factor.
Boykin doesn’t possess blazing speed, which a couple of the rookie receivers do, so there’s that. But he has good size at 6-2, 218 lbs. and he runs precise routes and has huge hands. His size is almost the exact same as Jordy Nelson.
Every Packer starting receiver missed some time last year, and that quite possibly could be the case again this year.
Fortunately for the Packers, they still have depth at the position as Boykin can make plays.
However, as Gurley and Borel learned last year, nothing is given, so Jarrett is going to have to produce during training camp and preseason.
There is a new crop of rookie WR’s who are eager to make the team.
Cobb, Jones, and Nelson have the first three spots locked up, barring catastrophic injury.
Second-year Jeremy Ross looked good in his opportunities last year as well, aside from his crucial muffed punt in the playoff loss at San Francisco, near the goalline with the Packers up 14-7.
Few would argue that the Packers top trio is as good as any in the NFL, but you should feel confident in the number four and five guys as well. In Boykin and Ross, the Packers are just fine there. And if someone happens to beat either out, that means the talent level got even better.