The New England Patriots enter the 2019 NFL Draft with a lot of needs, but also a lot of draft capital. As of this posting, the Patriots currently have 12 picks in the draft, including six in the first three rounds. The Patriots are actively looking for help at the wide receiver position, and they could turn to the hyper-athletic Miles Boykin to fill that need.
New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Targets: Miles Boykin
Miles Boykin is a certified freak of nature. The 6’4”, 220-pound receiver is one of the biggest receivers in his class but combines his freak size with elite speed and astonishingly good agility. Per Mock Draftable, Boykin’s 4.42 40-yard dash ranked in the 83rd percentile among wide receivers while his 6.77-second three-cone time ranked in the 77th percentile. He’s a fantastic athlete across the board, as his bench press is the only combine measurement which didn’t rank within the 77th percentile of the wide receiver class.
Miles Boykin combine results courtesy of MockDraftable.com
Quite frankly, players as big as Boykin should not be able to move the way he does. On paper, Boykin possesses the traits to be one of the better all-around receivers in football. He has the speed to take the top off the defense, the agility to get open in the short part of the field, the leaping ability to win contested passes, and the size to dwarf opposing cornerbacks.
Boykin is already capable of hauling in contested passes at the next level. Boykin recorded 59 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns as a Senior, with a good chunk of that production coming on jump balls. He’s never truly covered, as his combination of size and athleticism allow him to highpoint the ball where defenders simply cannot get it.
Boykin is a physical freak, but most of that otherworldly athleticism has yet to translate onto the field. The Notre Dame product is a raw product and will need time to develop before being a consistent contributor. Despite his massive size, Boykin had trouble consistently beating press coverage during his time in college. It doesn’t matter how fast your straight-line speed is if you can’t get off the line of scrimmage, and Boykin struggles to earn clean releases.
Additionally, Boykin’s route tree is anything but polished. The 23-year old wideout struggles to finish his routes and doesn’t come out of breaks hard. Additionally, Boykin isn’t great at adjusting to passes, although he can outleap any defender if the pass is on the mark.
For a player as physically gifted as Boykin, he should have done more in college. As previously mentioned, Boykin finished 2018 with 59 catches for 872 yards and eight touchdowns. This production isn’t anything special, but it’s good enough to project to the NFL. However, this was the only year in which he put up any type of numbers. Boykin recorded just 18 receptions for 334 yards and three touchdowns during the previous two seasons. While one-year wonders can work out in the NFL, one would prefer to see a larger sample of success.
Miles Boykin is one of the most high-risk, high-reward players in the 2019 NFL Draft. He’s arguably the most athletically-gifted wide receiver outside of D.K. Metcalf and has the raw tools to develop into a fantastic mismatch on the outside. He has the tools to beat defenders deep, win jump balls, and grow into a well-defined route runner.
That said, his athletic ability has yet to truly show itself on the field. Boykin struggles to beat press coverage against collegiate cornerbacks, so it’s hard to imagine him figuring that out against NFL-caliber cornerbacks. Additionally, Boykin needs to work on developing his route tree while also making better adjustments to inaccurate passes. He’s already capable of hauling in contested catches, but even then he needs the pass to be on the mark.
The Patriots have a history of drafting athletic, unpolished receivers like Aaron Dobson and Taylor Price with early picks. Boykin is a significantly better athlete than both Dobson and Price, but they’re all similar in that their athletic ceiling didn’t match their collegiate production.
If selected, don’t expect Boykin to immediately step in and contribute to the Patriots offense. Boykin’s going to need some time to develop, and his ultimate ceiling will be determined by his ability to harness his freak athleticism. He’ll either be a star wide receiver for the next ten years or a journeyman backup who never quite figures it out.
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