Rookie Scouting Report: Wide Receiver Miles Boykin
Miles Boykin, Notre Dame
Weight: 220 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds
Vertical Jump: 43.5 inches
Broad Jump: 140 inches
3-Cone Drill: 6.77 seconds
If there’s one thing we learned about Boykin at the NFL Combine, it’s that he’s a freak athletically. Despite being one of the biggest wide receivers at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, he ran the ninth-fastest 40-yard dash, had the highest vertical jump, second-longest broad jump, and fastest 3-cone drill. If you want to find his comparable from a size standpoint, Calvin Johnson isn’t very far off. Athletically, he’s very similar to Chris Conley, who hasn’t quite panned out in the NFL despite his freakish measurements.
When playing at Notre Dame as a pass-catcher, you’re probably not going to get noticed as easily as some other prospects. They just aren’t a school that wide receivers typically come from and produce in the NFL. There have been a few exceptions, though, so it’s possible Boykin is next on that list. After not doing much of anything his first three years in school (18 receptions, 334 yards, 3 touchdowns), Boykin showed off his senior year, totaling 59 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns. You have to wonder why they didn’t throw him the ball earlier in his career after seeing flashes of dominance in 2018.
Size/Versatility: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s thick in the bottom end but still has a solid upper body. His size is precisely what you’d want out of your X-receiver and knowing he has speed to go with it is never a bad thing. He rarely went into the slot, and when he did, it was usually a pass into the flats to him. Still, for a wide receiver with his size, it’s rare to see them play the slot much at all, so it’s not a big negative to his versatility. His size is one of the most appealing things about his game, as he makes for a very big target with his 33.5-inch arms and 43.5-inch vertical.
Route Running/Ability to Separate: 1.5 out of 5 stars
He doesn’t plant-and-cut but rather rounds out the top of his route, allowing defenders to kind of go with the flow. It helps that he has speed to beat them over the top, but his routes aren’t what’s generating separation. He can easily get redirected in his routes when the defender puts hands on him. He also doesn’t vary his speeds in route as much as he should knowing the gears he has available. That’s something that can come along with time, but his route running is definitely below average. He can rotate his hips relatively quickly, but lack of hard cuts limit his separation.
Speed: 3.5 out of 5 stars
He obviously has top-end speed by looking at his 40-time, but his play speed isn’t anything special. He almost always has a defender on his hip, as he doesn’t blow by defenders like we watched D.K. Metcalf continually do. There are times you’ll see him gain separation downfield, but that’s usually when the defender didn’t check him early in the route and gave him a free release. He has more built-up speed than initial burst off the line of scrimmage. We have to keep the speed score strictly to a player of his size, so he’s definitely above average, but it’s important you know his play speed isn’t elite.
Hands: 2.0 out of 5 stars
He lets the ball come into his body too much, even in traffic along the sidelines when he really shouldn’t. When you have big receivers like him, they can typically snag the ball out of thin air with their giant mitts, but Boykin doesn’t typically do that. Technique when using his hands also needs work, as his hands are often separated as the ball enters them. He was able to squeeze most of them, but it could be a problem down the line. Drops weren’t a major issue for him in 2018, but we cannot take it for granted with such a small sample size. I wouldn’t say his hands are a plus to his game.
Awareness: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Should be less concerned about wrestling with the cornerback and focus on his routes. Cornerbacks can get into an arm-tangle and throw him off his route trajectory. He must learn to come back to the ball to help his quarterback. There were plenty of times where his quarterback underthrew him at Notre Dame and he would almost wait for the ball to get to him, allowing defenders to break up the pass relatively easy. Watched him alligator-arm a few passes over the middle of the field. The little things just don’t show up on his limited film.
After the Catch: 2.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a big guy that should be hard to bring down, but he doesn’t play that way. He needs to be taught to take advantage of his body, though his lack of strength in the bench press (just 12 reps) could indicate he’s all bottom-end. You can also see his lack of strength when it comes to blocking. He has a little bit of juke to his game after the catch, but I don’t think he’ll be known as a tackle-breaker at the next level. His slightly below average grade is due to his size, as he should be more of a hassle for defenders.
Potential Landing Spot
I don’t see Boykin as a starter right now, so he’s likely to fall into at least the fourth round, unless someone completely falls head over heels for his athleticism. Because of that, there’s an endless list of teams who could select him as a project to work with on their depth chart. He had a private workout with the Bears, Patriots, and Steelers, while also working out for the Cardinals and Texans. Of those landing spots, the Bears make the most sense as they wouldn’t need him to play right now (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller as starters), so they could have him develop quite a bit under those guys. They also just lost Kevin White and Josh Bellamy in free agency, so they need to replenish their depth chart.
He reminds me of someone like Andre Holmes or Kenny Britt, two bigger athletic receivers who could get open down the field due to their all-around athleticism. Boykin is faster than them on a track (by 40-time) but his play speed isn’t that different. Britt did flash at times in the NFL but was an overall disappointment when you consider it took a first-round pick to get him. There’ve been plenty of big wide receivers who have been tremendous athletes that didn’t make it (see: Stephen Hill, Chris Conley, Justin Hunter to name a few).