Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Miles Boykin, WR of Notre Dame. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
There appears to be a trend to many of this year’s wide receiver prospects. In recent memory, there has not been a wide receiver class with this much elite athleticism across the board. Not only do many prospects have upper-tier athleticism, but many have the combination with size and speed.
While DK Metcalf and Hakeem Butler seem to be garnering most of the attention, Miles Boykin is arguably an even better overall size-adjusted athlete than either. While the aforementioned duo is being selected at the top of round one in rookie drafts, Boykin goes much later. Let’s delve into his prospect profile to see why this may be and if he should be a target in your rookie drafts.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com
Boykin was the definition of a late bloomer. After redshirting his freshman season at Notre Dame, he still only played a limited role for the Irish for both 2016 and 2017. Over his first three years, Boykin’s biggest contribution to the Irish was his one-handed touchdown catch against LSU in the Citrus Bowl.
There’s honestly not much to analyze in terms of the statistics for his first three seasons. While DeShone Kizer was the Irish’s quarterback for 2015 and 2016, Boykin was unable to get on the field much to play with the future second-round pick. In 2017, he improved upon his statistics because Notre Dame were much more of a run-first team with Josh Adams in the backfield.
Boykin registered an 11% market share of receiver yards in his third year, which is significantly under expectation for a productive NFL wide receiver. While Boykin did share the field with once dynasty darling Equanimeous St. Brown, Brown only turned out to be a sixth-round NFL draft pick. While this is still a potential reason for Boykin’s suppressed statistics, it’s not enough to give him a full pass.
In 2018, Boykin really came on, registering over 75% of his career receptions and over 72% of his career receiving yards in just his final season. With 872 receiving yards, Boykin posted a 26% receiving yards market share in his final season. While this is certainly an improvement, it is not to the standard other top receivers in this class have set, especially when considering this was Boykin’s fourth collegiate season. Nonetheless, Boykin’s 2018 production earned him an invitation to the NFL combine.
The above clip highlights all of Boykin’s plays in this past year’s Goodyear Bowl against Clemson. This video shows how he might possibly stack up against tougher, NFL competition. While Notre Dame plays some high-level opponents throughout the year, Clemson has a lot of potential NFL talent to go up against.
One of the first traits that stands out to me watching Boykin’s tape in this game is his ability as a run blocker. While not a fantasy-point-relevant ability, his willingness and strength as a run blocker will help him get on the field in the NFL. There are multiple plays where the running back (Dexter Williams) or quarterback (Ian Book) are able to pick up a solid three to five extra yards due to Boykin’s block.
On the vast majority of plays, Boykin is lined up as an outside receiver. While taking a couple of snaps from the slot, that does not appear to be an area of the field Notre Dame coaches wanted to utilize their athletic senior. More often than not, Boykin lined up on the left side of the field. However, there were definitely more than a handful of plays where he lined up on the right.
Boykin was mostly asked to run intermediate to deep routes in this game. He was able to draw multiple pass interference calls on deep passes. However, he seemed to struggle to beat any sort of pressure at the line of scrimmage. For an athletic, big receiver, one would expect Boykin to be able to beat smaller defenders easily and gain separation. This is a major concern as he tries to adapt to life in the NFL. Despite this concern, he does show promise as a player who can win on contested catches downfield.
Boykin was arguably the biggest riser from the NFL combine. At 6’4” 220 pounds, he tested as a 94th-percentile SPARQ athlete. Every single measurement tested in the 77th or higher percentile except for bench press. As someone who has major holes in his production profile, Boykin’s athletic testing pushed his draft stock significantly higher.
His test results compare favorably to NFL studs Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson. As we know, however, many other uber-athletic NFL hopefuls have fallen short of their ceiling. Other similar comparisons include Chris Conley and Sammie Coates. While his athleticism is certainly a plus, it’s not a sure thing he’ll be able to utilize it to its full potential in the NFL.
In DLF April rookie drafts, Boykin’s Average Draft Position (ADP) came in as the 25th rookie off the board. Pre-NFL Draft, dynasty owners are valuing the athletic wideout as a late second/early third round rookie selection. Boykin is easily one of the biggest risers since the beginning of the year. In DLF February rookie ADP, Boykin was valued as the 61st rookie off the board. His rise up 36 draft slots is one of, if not the, highest jump of all the 2019 rookies.
Boykin is expected to be taken on day three of the NFL draft. However, as we’ve seen time and time again, NFL teams love athleticism more than anything else. It only takes one team to fall in love with Boykin’s athletic upside for him to go earlier than expected. If he were to climb into day two of the NFL draft, his dynasty value should increase. However, if he finds himself on selected on day three, he will likely slip towards the end – rather than the beginning – of round three in rookie drafts.
It feels like every rookie class has a player like Miles Boykin. While lacking in statistical production, he tested as one of the best wide receivers in NFL combine history, not just the 2019 class. Players with this kind of profile tend to bust more than they boom. However, we may not have ever seen a player with this athletic profile before in this situation.
Boykin will be landing-spot-dependent as to whether or not I will be targeting him in rookie drafts. Given an opportunity to grow and develop before being thrust into a starting role, I believe he has the makings of a solid dynasty stash.
I would classify Boykin as a developmental receiver with a lot of athletic upside. These types of players always make for solid stashes in dynasty, but I would prefer to take those shots in round three of rookie drafts as opposed to round two. Ultimately, he is a player whose athleticism will push him up both NFL and rookie draft boards. He will likely be a polarizing player even after the NFL Draft.