The Buffalo Bills made an underrated signing Wednesday in former Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin. His agent, Blake Baratz, tweeted the news on Wednesday. While he didn't play for a team through the 2015 season, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Boykin is an interesting addition for a few reasons.
1.) He played with Tyrod Taylor. At Virginia Tech, Boykin was actually Taylor's go-to guy. In 2010, Boykin caught 53 passes for 847 yards with six touchdowns from Taylor through a wild season for the Hokies. After losing a stunner to James Madison, Taylor and Boykin led Virginia Tech to 11 straight wins. For more on that turnaround, here's our first Sunday Story of the season on Tyrod Taylor taking over.
As Boykin explained, Taylor took on a leadership role to get Virginia Tech past the embarrassing loss... and made some plays he'll never forget.
Obviously, it's been five years since these two were together but the past relationship should help.
2.) He was a starting WR in Green Bay. Back in 2013, Boykin played a major role in Green Bay's passing game, starting out wide in one of the NFL's most prolific passing games. Injuries vaulted the former undrafted pick-up into the line-up and he caught 49 passes for 681 yards with three touchdowns. He doesn't have blazing speed (teams couldn't get past his 4.74 in the 40) but excelled on routes underneath with Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn alike.
Sure hands (that are 10 1/4 inches wide) helped separate Boykin. In college, he actually had to wear size 3XL and 4XL gloves. And that 2013 season, he made clutch catches in a comeback win at Dallas (six receptions for 83 yards). So what happened? The following year, Green Bay drafted three receivers (Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis), Boykin lost his spot to Adams and his role was severely reduced. He had only three catches for 23 yards in 2014, spent the next summer with the Carolina Panthers where he had some success vs. Ronald Darby in the preseason but couldn't make the team.
3.) The Bills will be auditioning receivers. And they seem to be coveting bigger wideouts. Greg Salas (6-2, 210) and Leonard Hankerson (6-2, 211) both were signed late in the season, though Hankerson will now become a free agent. Quite possibly, Buffalo is seeking another thicker receiver who can go over the middle of the field --- where Taylor rarely threw this past season. Boykin should have a legitimate opportunity to make the team in Buffalo.
Who'll be the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 receivers behind Sammy Watkins?
Chris Hogan, a restricted free agent this spring, revealed this week that he battled through stinging torn ligaments in his hand. And Robert Woods, per ESPN.com, played 14 games with a torn groin. Woods said the injury limited him a lot, that "I wasn't able to really run too much or open up." He originally suffered the injury in a joint practice with the Cleveland Browns, in which he dominated, and never fully recovered. Eventually, Woods was placed on injured reserve Dec. 22.
Woods finished with 47 catches for 552 yards and three touchdowns, as Hogan had 36 grabs for 450 yards and two scores.
Both certainly had their moments last season, but it appears the Bills will be keeping their options open this off-season at the position. They've already re-signed Salas and added Boykin. Buffalo also have Dezmin Lewis, Walter Powell, Marquise Goodwin and Marcus Easley as possibilities. The raw seventh-rounder Lewis spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad, while Powell was the last man standing in the return game. Goodwin is the fastest player on the team and one of the fastest in the NFL but hasn't been able to stay healthy.