Boykin prepares for life after UGA
He aims for scouts to focus not on negatives, but on positives of him as a playmaker
Don't bother asking Brandon Boykin for an opinion on where the latest mock NFL draft predicted him to be picked.
He hasn't heard and doesn't particularly care to know.
"I don't pay attention to Mel Kiper and the mock drafts. I don't pay attention to it at all," said Boykin, who recently completed his career as an All-SEC cornerback at Georgia. "Ultimately your performance and what you do kind of dictates those big boards and where you go. I know that they kind of favor people who are in the spotlight whose teams might be winning."
Boykin is correct that the two most favored cornerbacks among most draft analysts are from winning teams -- LSU's Morris Claiborne and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick, slotted 1 and 2 on ESPN.com's cornerback rankings, were on teams that played for the BCS title. But they also share an important physical similarity.
Both Claiborne and Kirkpatrick are taller than 6 feet, while Boykin comes in a shade above 5-foot-9.
He hopes to use this week's practices in Mobile, Ala., leading up to Saturday's Senior Bowl to prove that his height does not need to be a red flag for NFL teams interested in his services.
"For corners in particular, it's bigger guys that are the ones that are going to get the hype," Boykin admitted. "That's perfectly fine with me. I know that a lot of people know that I'm a great player and that I'm somebody that can do a lot of things, and a playmaker. This week throughout the practices will be my chance to showcase everything that I have and I'm confident that I'll show my ability and do well."
Boykin showed off a wide-ranging skill set during his Georgia career -- particularly in a senior season where he added time on offense and as a punt returner to his repertoire. He had already started at cornerback since his sophomore season and served as one of the most explosive kickoff returners in SEC history, finishing his career second on the league's all-time kickoff return yardage list and as the only player in league history with three 100-yard plays to his credit.
A week after Boykin recorded a safety, returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass in the final game of his college career -- an overtime loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl -- he learned that he won the Paul Hornung Award, which goes to the most versatile player in college football.
"Just to think of how many people were up for the award, I think it was like 30 people, for me to be selected the winner is just a blessing," Boykin said. "It definitely showcases the amount of things that I can do, so I know people will take a look at that."
The players' morning workouts consist mostly of football-related drills and techniques, Boykin said, while the evening work focuses on improving their performances in the combine workout drills like the 40-yard dash and vertical leap.
Boykin should have little difficulty convincing scouts that he has the athleticism necessary to compete in the NFL. It's his size and cornerback technique that they will scrutinize this week in Mobile and in tryouts between now and when the draft kicks off in late April.
That's why his performance this week in practice and in Saturday's game will be so valuable for the former Bulldog.
"I think a lot of people know that I'm a great player, but kind of haven't seen me yet in an environment where I can just completely cover somebody one-on-one in the open field," he said. "At Georgia, I played a lot of slot and was doing a lot of blitzing and stuff like that. My opportunity is to just show people my talent at corner, as well as how versatile I am in the return game and any other thing that I have to do on the field."
David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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