Through the first two years of his career, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Miles Boykin has flashed playmaking potential as a pass-catcher, but has been more impactful as a blocker than at the primary functions of his position.
As a rookie in 2019, he recorded 13 receptions on 22 targets for 198 yards and three touchdowns. He slightly improved his stats last year by catching 19 of the 33 targets for 266 yards and four touchdowns.
His lack of consistency probably played a role since targets can be few and far between in the Ravens’ run-centric offense. The pass catchers who have Lamar Jackson’s trust receive the most balls thrown their way, namely Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and Mark Andrews last year.
In addition to his downfield run blocking, one of Boykin’s most impressive traits during his first two seasons had been his durability. He played in all 16 regular-season games as well all three playoff games over that span, including 26 career starts.
The former third-round pick out of Notre Dame entered 2021 training camp in what many viewed as a battle against 2020 sixth-rounder James Proche for perhaps the sixth and final spot on the receiver depth chart. Unfortunately for Boykin, lack of availability due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the first week of camp opened the door for Proche to shine, while several of the team’s top wideouts have also missed time with minor injuries.
Prior to the preseason finale on Saturday, Proche was the Ravens’ most consistent receiver in practice, but had yet to carry his production over into live game action. However, that changed against the Washington Football Team when he had his best game as a professional. He caught all four of his targets for 52 yards, including a highlight 20-yard touchdown reception where he went up for and secured the ball in the end zone with a defender draped all over him.
Many pundits believe Proche showed enough in practice to earn a roster spot, his performance against Washington all but cemented his place on the depth chart as the sixth receiver. While this eventuality could spell the end of Boykin’s tenure with the team, they should consider placing him on season-ending injured reserve for the 2021 season.
With veteran wideout Sammy Watkins playing on a one-year deal, it makes sense to retain Boykin for the final year of his rookie deal in 2022. Since he has underwhelmed in his first two years, is dealing with an injury, and didn’t play in the preseason, his trade value is likely low.
The term medical redshirt is typically reserved for injured collegiate student-athletes who sit out a season without sacrificing a year of eligibility. However, in this case, it’d be used to give Boykin a chance to refine his craft while the Ravens make a title run.
While some might argue the best current option for both parties is to cut ties, the Ravens traditionally don’t release high draft picks after just two seasons, even if they have yet to blossom. Boykin might be a late bloomer, sitting out the season could provide motivation to come back better than ever. Such a humbling experience might instill an unrelenting determination to prove he can realize the potential Baltimore saw in him when they drafted the 6-foot-4 and 220-pound physical specimen.