NFL

Eagles take DB Brandon Boykin in 4th round

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)

Brandon Boykin closed out his collegiate career with a standout performance that included a touchdown reception, a punt return for a score, and a safety.

The one play that will endear him to fans of his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles, was a tackle.

Boykin perfectly read a screen pass, flew in from his cornerback position and blasted Keshawn Martin in the end zone for a safety on Michigan State's first offensive play in the Spartans' 33-30 triple overtime win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl.

On a day the Eagles announced they're retiring Brian Dawkins' No. 20, they chose Boykin in the fourth round of the NFL draft.

If Boykin plays with the same tenacity as Dawkins, it'll be a great pick.

''I do enjoy it,'' Boykin said about hitting. ''That's something that I get overlooked for, for me being a smaller corner and playing the slot. People say you've got to be able to tackle, and my ability to cover and tackle are up to par.''

The 5-foot-9 1/2, 182-pound Boykin, the 123rd overall pick, can play in the slot or cover outside receivers. He's a skilled returner and even played a little on offense for the Bulldogs.

Boykin won the 2011 Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation's most versatile player after recording 55 tackles, including 11 for loss, with three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a safety as a senior. He also had 850 kickoff return yards and 180 punt return yards. On offense, Boykin had 103 yards rushing with a touchdown and five catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

''Brandon is really a dual-role position player in that he can play corner and he can play also the inside/nickel position,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ''He's done those both at a high level of competition at the college level. Add to that he was a returner. He was one of the best dual returners in college football this year, so we welcome that skill onto our football team.

''I think sometimes that is a skill that gets neglected in this, is the return part of it.''

Boykin was considered a potential second-round pick, but he dropped after sustaining a slight fracture in his right fibula in the Senior Bowl.

''By the time rookie camp rolls around, I'll be ready, and definitely by the time the season starts,'' Boykin said.

After trading Asante Samuel to Atlanta earlier in the week, the Eagles still have two accomplished starting cornerbacks in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Boykin, though, could compete with Joselio Hanson and Curtis Marsh for a job as the nickel cornerback.

Boykin is considered a strong tackler, quick and has the leaping ability to cover taller receivers. He had nine career interceptions, and returned four kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns.

''Me being a slot guy, I feel like I'm somebody that can come in and compete in the slot,'' Boykin said. ''I can play inside and outside. I can be a return man, a kick returner and punt returner. I'm expecting them to be using me in a lot of ways.''

In their other draft selections Saturday, the Eagles chose Purdue offensive tackle Dennis Kelly in the fifth round, Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt and Miami offensive lineman Brandon Washington in the sixth round and Kansas State running back Bryce Brown in the seventh round.

The Eagles addressed their defense with their first three picks, taking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in the first round and California linebacker Mychal Kendricks and Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry in the second round.

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles was Philadelphia's third-round choice.

Tagged: Eagles, Nick Foles

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