FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Jarrett Boykin, wide receiver
Season stats: 17 games (701 snaps — 61.4 percent of total offensive snaps); 49 catches, 681 yards, three touchdowns, five dropped passes, forced 12 missed tackles
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 5.1 (ranked No. 10 out of 23 Packers offensive players; ranked No. 3 out of Packers’ five qualifying wide receivers)
Best game: Week 10 loss vs. Philadelphia (48 snaps; eight catches, 112 yards, zero touchdowns, one dropped pass, forced one missed tackle; 1.3 PFF rating)
Worst game: Playoff loss vs. San Francisco (28 snaps; zero catches, one target; minus-0.5 PFF rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were … Exceeded
Looking live: Remember in May 2012 when Jarrett Boykin apparently wasn’t good enough to last one week with the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars? Less than two years later, Boykin is an emerging threat on a Green Bay Packers team that gives him the opportunity to be catching passes from in-his-prime elite quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Quite the career turnaround for Boykin, who went undrafted in 2012 mostly due to concerns about his lack of speed. Boykin only caught five passes for 27 yards as a rookie, but his sophomore campaign showed drastic improvement. Boykin displayed that improvement right away in training camp, too. After a strong first week, Boykin was recognized on Aug. 2 in the "Movin’ On Up" category of the Training Camp Report series. On that day, he caught multiple passes from Rodgers and had already separated himself as the Packers’ clear-cut No. 4 receiving option (behind Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones, but ahead of seventh-round picks Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey, Jeremy Ross and undrafted rookies like Myles White and Tyrone Walker). The question entering the regular season wasn’t about whether Boykin would make the active roster but about how much playing time he would get. For a player like Boykin who was just entering his second NFL season, that’s a huge accomplishment.
Upon further review: Boykin barely stepped on the field during the first month of the regular season, playing just 10 combined snaps through Week 5. For the remainder of the regular season, however, Boykin always played at least 50 percent of the offensive snaps in each game. With the injuries to Cobb and tight end Jermichael Finley, there were more opportunities for Boykin and he made the most of them. When he had his breakout game in Week 7 against Cleveland, it sparked a debate about whether any half-decent wide receiver could pretty much do what Boykin did as long as it’s Rodgers throwing the ball. That suggestion is nonsense, though. Looking at that eight-catch, 103-yard performance in that Browns game by Boykin, he had six memorable moments: 1. Pulled in a high pass from Rodgers on third-and-8 for a 15-yard gain, 2. made an all-out-diving catch, 3. had a difficult grab across the middle between two defenders, 4. had a 21-yard reception after making a second move when the play appeared lost (that was wiped out by offensive holding), 5. made multiple defenders miss tackling attempts with impressive after-catch work that turned into a 39-yard gain and got Green Bay to the 1-yard line and 6. scored his first career touchdown on a play in which his double move completely took cornerback Buster Skrine out of the play before Boykin capped it off by plowing him over at the goal line. It was series of plays that had a lot more to do with the quality of work by Boykin at wide receiver than the caliber of quarterback making the throws. If skeptics needed further proof after that, Boykin had eight catches for 112 yards three weeks later . . . with Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien at quarterback. Boykin did disappear at times, though, including in the playoff loss to the 49ers in which he was targeted just once in 28 snaps and had no impact in the game. Boykin showed that the talent is there, now he just needs to apply it consistently.
Overall 2013 grade: B
Status for 2014: One-hundred percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Boykin has surpassed all expectations through two years in the NFL. It’s to the point already that his quick progress could give Green Bay’s front office enough reason to believe that Boykin can be the No. 3 wide receiver in 2014, thus possibly making James Jones (a free agent) expendable. Having just turned 24 years old in November 2013, Boykin could be on his way to having a great career with the Packers.