Miles Boykin, more than Marquise Brown, could be the key for Ravens
By Darin McCann
Miles Boykin could make a greater impact as a rookie than Marquise Brown:
The Ravens drafted Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin and they are both exciting rookies. The drafting of wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in the first round of this year’s draft gave most Ravens fans a sense of optimism that the insanely-fast Brown would bring some downfield heat to an offense built largely around the run game.
And, also, maybe a little terror that Brown would be another fleet-footed rookie receiver that can’t stay healthy and never fulfills his promise. I mean, we’ve been hurt before, right?
Lost in the shuffle a little bit was the third-round selection of receiver Miles Boykin, a height-speed specimen who offered the prospect of a very high ceiling after his dazzling performance at the Combine and requisite highlight catch in college.
Brown is slowly working himself into the rigors of professional football as he recovers from offseason foot surgery, and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of palpable fear that he won’t be able to get on the field (though, admittedly, we have seen this movie before).
Boykin, however, has been heavily involved. He has been a little up and down in the first two preseason games, but has been a standout in practices. He has been competing against one of the best defensive backfields in the entire NFL, and he has reportedly more than held his own. That’s encouraging.
And he has apparently been doing it with a variety of routes, on every level of the defense. Combine that with his speed to get down the sidelines, short-area quickness to get in and out of breaks and his physical strength to fight off press coverage, and Boykin displays a lot of the traits of a true X receiver.
If he does, and that’s a big “if” still, a lot of good things could be in the future for the Ravens offense. Brown could be used in certain roles to maximize his unique skill set, without the pressure of trying to be the top dog, especially at his size. Speaking of players filling roles, a player like Jaleel Scott could be used in red zone situations and certain boundary roles, and the talented core of tight ends could all be used in their own unique ways.
Boykin taking control of this role could change the entire landscape of the Ravens passing offense. If he succeeds in his role, that could help Brown succeed in his role, which could help the Ravens succeed on offense for the foreseeable future.
He doesn’t need to be a Pro Bowler off the bat, but he does need to demand the attention of the opposing defense. He can prevent a corner from crashing inside to combat the Ravens rushing offense, and sometimes draw a safety to help bracket him, opening things up everywhere else on the field.
We all saw last year how Lamar Jackson impacted the entire rushing offense by forcing defenses to account for everybody. Boykin could essentially do the same for the passing offense. It’s exciting because of the hope he brings, and it will be even more exciting if he fills it.