The Disappearance Of Jarrett Boykin


On Oct. 20, 2013, then-unheralded Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin made his first professional start, suiting up against Cleveland. He proceeded to blow up the box score with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Boykin’s sudden rise, seemingly from out of nowhere, was nothing short of incredible.

Filling in for an ailing Jordy Nelson, Boykin was charged with absorbing some of the valuable offensive focus normally assigned to then-Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.

These were some heady responsibilities for the one-time Jacksonville project who was cut by the Jaguars shortly after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech in the 2012 NFL draft.

Boykin’s sudden rise, seemingly from out of nowhere, was nothing short of incredible.

Boykin, Tennessee Prep All State receiver and blue chip recruit, landed in Blacksburg, Va. Standing 6-2 he had prototypical size. He had the hands. And he had the resume. He thrived in an an up-tempo Virginia Tech offense and left Virginia Tech as the all-time leader in both pass receptions and yardage.

But what he couldn’t do, according to NFL scouts, was run.

Jarrett Boykin tracks down a Scott Tolzien pass last November against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Or at least not very fast.

He attended the scouting combine in 2012 but in posting a pedestrian 4.58 forty-yard dash time he wasn’t deemed explosive or quick enough out of his release at the line to be considered NFL-caliber receiving material.

The Jaguars, seemingly, confirmed those sentiments by cutting Boykin shortly after they signed him as an undrafted free agent in May of 2012.

Boykin’s stint in Green Bay- and perhaps his last shot at an NFL career- began later that Summer when he was signed off the street.

He managed to snare five passes for 27 yards in that embattled rookie season, most of which was spent laboring on the Packers’ practice squad.

Fast forward to that game in Cleveland, though, and you had what looked like the beginnings of something special.

He had 49 receptions for 681 yards and three scores as a spot-starter while proving those NFL talent evaluators that they were dead wrong.

Even more impressive in his first notable playing time were Boykin’s 34 catches for first downs.

With perhaps the NFL’s deepest receiving corps at his fingertips – and possibly triggered by the performance of Boykin in relief – Green Bay General Manager Ted Thompson opted to let veteran pass-catcher James Jones defect to the Raiders. That move signified a changing of the guard at the receiver position in Packers News.

It was clearly a sign that Green Bay was moving on to the younger and more cost-effective Boykin as their third receiver behind stars Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Expectations for Boykin were at an all time high, it seemed.

But in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL it appears things have changed for Boykin.

In the six games to start 2014 he’s registered just a pair of catches for 17 yards. His highlight reel play of 2014 was an 11-yard reception that went for a first down in an otherwise abysmal 19-7 loss to Detroit.

In an explosive offense led by otherworldly quarterback Aaron Rodgers it would seem like Boykin lining up as a starter in three-deep sets would translate to production. But that hasn’t been the case.

A groin injury has slowed him and pushed down the depth chart behind emerging rookie Davante Adams.

So where exacxtly did Boykin go? Will we see more of him as he recovers?

Stay tuned …

Wide receiver Jarrett Boykin has been anything but strong in 2014. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph