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Youngster Brandon Boykin has stepped up during training camp.
When the Philadelphia Eagles parted ways with both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha in the offseason, they needed to have someone step up internally.
While they did add a couple key veterans in the form of Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin was going to be looked at as a solid rotational cornerback heading into his second season.
The good news here for Philadelphia is that its former fourth-round pick has been impressive in training camp thus far. Stated Reuben Frank of CSN Philly last week:
The cornerback spot is wide open, and Boykin is having the best camp of all the corners. With Cary Williams still out with a hammy, Boykin worked with the first defense on Wednesday, not in the slot but outside.
He looked really good.
As anyone who has ever studied tape fully understands, playing in the slot is a completely different ballgame than playing on the outside. Boykin was mostly a nickel guy last season, which proved to be somewhat of a difficult transition.
Veteran Eagles receiver Jason Avant points this out in better terms than I can:
The first year is going to be real hard when they throw you in nickel...People don’t realize this, but outside is easier than the slot, because when you’re outside, most of the time you have an extra defender -- the sideline -- then you have the safety inside, so there’s actually three people covering out there.
Depending on Williams' health, Boykin could end up seeing a lot more action on the outside against Philadelphia's first-team offense. That being said, his performance in its first preseason game this week will go a long way in determining just how much he has improved from his rookie season.
I, for one, am intrigued.