Boykin Emerges As Legitimate Threat
by Mike Conklin
November 13, 2013
There have been many stories written about the unsightly number of injuries to the Packers to this point of the season.
Lost behind the weekly laundry list of players listed as questionable, doubtful, or unable to play toils a quiet, unassuming player who brings his lunch pail to work every day and has been able to help fill at least one void during this injury-riddled season.
Through it all, Jarrett Boykin has emerged as a legitimate wide receiver.
Mike McCarthy often talks about how when a player is injured, that means another player has an opportunity. It is an unfortunate fact of life in the NFL, but many players may not have received much of a chance had they not been thrust into roles because a team's starters were injured.
That very well may have been the case with Boykin if all the Packers receivers had remained healthy.
In fact, Boykin hardly sniffed the field the first month of the season. He only played ten snaps from scrimmage in the first four games combined.
But when both James Jones and Randall Cobb went down against the Ravens a month ago, Jarrett Boykin's number was called. He may have had a bit of a slow start in that game, as he came off the bench and was thrust into the spotlight.
He caught only one pass that day, despite being targeted six times. Some observers wondered if he would be up to the challenge.
Since that time, Boykin has proven his doubters wrong. He came out the next week and had a very solid game, and also caught his first NFL touchdown. He hasn't looked back since.
In fact, he ranks in the top ten in receiving yards over the past four weeks.
Jarrett Boykin, the player who was cut by Jacksonville, one of the worst teams in the league over the past several seasons, has two 100-yard receiving games in the past month. (As a team, the Jaguars only have four this season.)
Jarrett Boykin, the player who managed a pedestrian 4.71 second 40-yard dash as a draft prospect at the scouting combine, is averaging nearly 16 yards per catch, and has three receptions over 35 yards.
The Packers undoubtedly have missed their star receivers, but Boykin has proven he belongs, and he may have also shown Ted Thompson that he may offer a viable option should the Packers choose (or be unable) to re-sign James Jones this offseason, as he enters unrestricted free agency.
At any rate, Boykin's emergence will make for some difficult decisions for Mike McCarthy when it comes to divvying up playing time if ever Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson are all healthy at the same time, along with Boykin.
For the Packers, that is a problem they would be happy to have.
Photo Credit: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel