Boykin's had an up-and-down offseason. It started with him becoming the No. 3 wide receiver after the Packers let James Jones walk in free agency. Then his job was in jeopardy after Green Bay drafted Davante Adams in the second round of the draft. And then it went on and drafted two more wide receivers just for good measure.
Then Boykin had his struggles early in training camp with dropped passes.
Boykin drops comeback from Rodgers. He's had too many drops in camp.— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) August 4, 2014
However, Boykin's stock is back on the rise following two preseason games. In those games, Boykin has proved that he's poised to break out for the Packers this year.
Let's take a look at exactly what Boykin has done in his two preseason games to prove he's the Packers' breakout player this year.
More Trust From Aaron Rodgers
Back-to-back completions to Jarrett Boykin. He's set as the No. 3 WR still right now.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) August 16, 2014
What was most impressive about those two receptions were the routes that Boykin ran. They were both routes that involved timing between quarterback and receiver.
The first was a simple quick hitch where Rodgers threw the ball before Boykin even turned around. Following that, Boykin ran a stop route where the ball was once again there right as Boykin turned his head.
Even though none of his three receptions went for a huge gain against the Rams, they did two things for Boykin. First, they showed that Rodgers has trust in his young receiver. Secondly, they proved that Rodgers has become extremely comfortable with the player Boykin's becoming.
Had Rodgers not been comfortable and not trusted Boykin, he would have never thrown those timing routes. It's only the preseason, but the trust that Rodgers is showing in Boykin can only mean good things for the third-year receiver.
Still Room to Improve
What's important to note with Boykin is that there is still room for him to improve. As a former undrafted free agent, Boykin's three years can't be compared to a first-round pick's three years.
In fact, the first playing time Boykin ever had happened last year when Randall Cobb broke his leg in Week 7. So, while Boykin looks ready to break out, it also needs to be known that Boykin is still improving. On his quest to breakout status, there will be growing pains.
Take Saturday's game against St. Louis as an example. Despite looking good for most of the game, Boykin also made a major mistake.
It happened on the second series, and Eric Baranczyk of the Green Bay Press-Gazette broke down the mistake perfectly:
Boykin's route running has improved from last year, though as he showed Saturday, he still can use work. On the first play of the Packers' second series, for instance, he ran a bad out pattern that caused an incompletion.
The television video shows it perfectly. Instead of putting his foot in the ground and making a sharp 90 degree cut, he drifted back. Rodgers threw the ball to the right spot but Boykin ran a bad route, so the pass is off target.
It's those small nuances to the game that Boykin needs to perfect. Are these little details going to derail Boykin's season? It's very doubtful, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Is Boykin going to break out in 2014?
A breakout season for Boykin might be a little different than a breakout season for receivers on other teams. And the reason for this is that Boykin is still going to need to battle for targets with Cobb, Jordy Nelson and a bevy of tight ends.
With that said, there's no doubt that Boykin should surpass his numbers from last year of 49 receptions, 681 yards and three touchdowns.
Is he going to find himself in the Pro Bowl or on the All-Pro team next year? It's unlikely, but it wouldn't be a surprise at all for him to finish the year as one of the most productive No. 3 receivers in the league.
Look for Boykin to finish with around 70 receptions, 800 receiving yards and six touchdowns by the time the regular season is over.