It seemed like a bit of a curious decision back in January when Miles Boykin decided to leave for the NFL with a year of eligibility remaining because he was not projected to be a high pick at the time according to draft analysts. After posting two sub 4.5 40 yard dashes and other eye popping numbers, Boykin is showing that maybe he knew what he was doing after all.
On his first attempt at the 40 yard dash, Boykin, a wide receiver not known for his speed, posted an impressive 4.47. That alone was eye popping enough for a receiver who weighed in at 220 lbs. He wasn’t done though. Boykin followed up that with an even better 4.42
Talk about an encore.
Boykin didn’t just run fast at the Combine today though. He also put up an absolutely ridiculous 43.5 inch vertical nearly out-jumping the pole in the process.
Miles Boykin jumping out the roof! 😤pic.twitter.com/Hkph2NcpII
— PFF (@PFF) March 2, 2019
That is the 2nd highest vertical jump ever recorded at the NFL Combine according to Rich Eisen. (Edit: second highest ever for a wide receiver).
Boykin also posted an 11’8″ broad jump just for good measure.
.@NDFootball WR @MBoykin814 just jumped 43.5" in the vertical! 🔥 #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/FApROwQdCg
— NFL (@NFL) March 2, 2019
Boykin’s reputation at Notre Dame was that of a massive, chain moving wide receiver – not a speed guy. He made some plays downfield the last two years. His circus catch and run against LSU in the Citrus Bowl being the most notable. But he was more of a possession receiver for the Irish.
After clocking two sub 4.5 40’s at 220 lbs though, you have to think that Boykin just made himself a lot of money Saturday afternoon. Wide receivers that big who can move like that don’t grow on trees.
While a lot of this comes as a surprise to many – including some Notre Dame fans – it might not be all that much of a surprise to NFL scouts. According to a Sun Times article from Friday, Boykin was quoted as saying his NFL Advisory Board evaluation came back with a 2nd round grade.
You also have to ask yourself where that speed was and why the Irish coaching staff couldn’t better utilize it during the 2018 season or before. Boykin had a long touchdown against Pitt, but other than that, he was not much of a downfield threat this past year. He did get open a few times against Clemson but Ian Book was unable to get him the ball on those occasions.
Whatever the case, Miles Boykin just showed the world why he decided to leave for the NFL when he did and made himself a substantial amount of money in the process. Boykin’s numbers in 2018 were more than solid – 50 catches, 872 yards, 8 TDs – and now he has some freakish measureables from the Combine to go along with those.
As for why Notre Dame wasn’t able to display the freakish abilities Boykin displayed on Saturday more this past fall, that’s a question we’ll be talking about for a while as Notre Dame reshapes its wide receiving corps. They are already started by moving Chase Claypool over to Boykin’s departed boundary position, but there’s a lot more work to be done.
Well Chase, for all of his freakish athleticism and generally great attitude must start catching the easy passes. Remember the first drop against Clemson on our opening possession. Key play that should have been made.
Honestly, Claypool drops less passes than any other receiver that I’ve seen in a while. That was a bit of an anomaly that first one against Clemson. Can you remember others? I can’t. What I love about Claypool is his physicality after the catch. He tends to lower his shoulder and blast smaller DBs and gain extra yards in the process. I’m looking forward to seeing this in the fall!
I think this speaks to Book’s inability to throw the deep ball. Now we know why he was consistently under-throwing Boykin. The oddest point is that Boykin rarely got separation from DB’s. With that speed he should have been torching guys.
The answer is in comparing Will fuller’s tape to Boykin’s. Much more to being a successful over the top guy than 4.4 speed. Speed is really just the entering argument. ND used Boykin reasonably well based on what he can do.
You are exactly right. This is Book’s weak point in his game. There were several occasions where receivers were behind DBs but Book under threw them. And then when receivers were wide open not so far down the field but on go routes, he would overthrow them really badly. Finke against VT is a perfect example of that.