Why Size At Corner Matters To Eagles

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Chip Kelly led with size when extolling the virtues of free-agent acquisition Nolan Carroll last week.

“We had him targeted very early as a guy we wanted to bring into this organization,” the head coach said. “I think he’s got the requisite length that we are looking for at the corner spot, especially as an outside corner.”

Another blow dealt to those hoping Brandon Boykin will be given a starting role this season.

The argument for moving Boykin outside is pretty straightforward: The 23-year-old finished second in the league with six interceptions last year while playing only half the time. Why not give the playmaker more opportunity to make plays?

There is merit to that line of thinking. But the Eagles are looking at it another way. Big picture, they see a league that is getting flooded with giants at the wide receiver position, and are trying to properly arm themselves so they at least have  a fighting chance against them.

“Some guys say, ‘I don’t care how tall a guy is. He can be 5-8. If he can cover, he can cover.’ But the receivers do feel like they’re getting bigger,” said defensive coordinator  Billy Davis. “I know one thing. When you’re up in the box and you look down and see 6-5 out there and your 5-9’s covering him. Jump-ball? I don’t think we’re gonna win that one.”

Davis is right: the receivers are getting bigger. And the size  gap between receivers and corners is growing, as Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com explains.

In 1992, the wide receivers selected for the Pro Bowl averaged 6 feet, ½ inch and weighed 195.6 pounds. The cornerbacks selected to that Pro Bowl averaged 6-¼ and weighed 189.5 pounds. That’s an even battle, much like it had been in 1982…

By 2012, the Pro Bowl receivers checked in at 6-1½, 209.1 pounds and the cornerbacks averaged 6-¾, 198.4 pounds. The discrepancy grew this past season, with the Pro Bowl receivers averaging 6-2½, 215.8 and the corners going 5-11½, 196.4 — even with Seattle’s 6-3, 195-pound Richard Sherman and Arizona’s 6-1, 219-pound Patrick Peterson in the mix.




Spin ahead to this past February's scouting combine, and a deep class of strikingly big wide receivers checked in at an average of 6-foot-1½, 200.1 pounds, while the cornerbacks invited to Lucas Oil Stadium averaged just more than 5-foot-11, 194.4 pounds.

While many things went into the success of Seattle's defense last season, having big, physical corners who could hold their own in one-on-one match ups was a significant piece of the puzzle. And it was no accident. Take a look at the corners currently on the Seahawks' roster.

Name
Height
Weight
Richard Sherman6-3195
Tharold Simon6-3202
Eric Pinkins6-3220
Byron Maxwell6-1207
Jeremy Lane6-0190
A.J. Jefferson6-1190
Chandler Fenner6-1189
Phillip Adams5-11195

Pete Carroll is obviously looking for specific measurables in his corners. We know Kelly is as well, though he has a little ways to go until his cornerbacks match the Seahawks from a size perspective (or otherwise).  Here is how the Eagles stack up:

Name
Height
Weight
Cary Williams6-1190
Nolan Carroll6-1205
Curtis Marsh 6-1197
Bradley Fletcher6-0200
Jaylen Watkins5-11194
Roc Carmichael5-10197
Brandon Boykin5-10185

"They're definitely a  blueprint for what the future of the NFL is going to look like just because you have these power forwards playing wide receiver," said Eagles assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght of Seattle's corners. "What are you going to do to match these power forwards? You gotta go get yourself some small forwards just to be able to contend. That's what the game's come down to."

On the flip side, Kelly is gravitating towards the "power forwards" at receiver to take advantage of the disparity in size between wideouts and corners across the league. One of the reasons he wants to play Jordan Matthews (6-3, 212) inside is to create mismatches with smaller slot corners -- players who are the size of say, Boykin.

The Georgia product has not been shy about the fact that he wants to start on the outside. He is scheduled to make about $670,000 this season and $760,000 in 2015 -- the final year of his rookie contract. Would he want to re-up with a team that isn't using him as a full-time starter? That's an issue that will need to be dealt with in time. For now, the Eagles are sticking to their cornerback philosophy.

“When most people, if they’re gonna be in ’21′ personnel, then they’re not small outside. They’re big outside. So when they’re big, we’re big," said Kelly. "I think when you bring in the Wes Welkers and the great slot receivers in this league, you need to have someone that has the ability to cover them. And I think that’s what Brandon’s strength really is. That’s the way we’ve always looked at it.”

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  • Eagledelphia

    Unless the Eagles are willing to pay a premium for his services he will never look back when his contract is up. Some team will give him the chance to play outside if he continues to play at the same level he has been

    • JosephR2225

      If he makes it that far. They’ll probably shop him next offseason.

    • PhillyLanc

      Hopefully they can find a way to pay him somewhere between top slot CB money and average outside CB money and keep him.

      • Richard Colton

        not sure why he would take that. when he hits the open market, you have to think his playmaking skills + age will make him one of the hottest names at CB. Do we want to pay an interior lineman Left Tackle money?

        Sad to say, but I see Boykin walking and Watkins playing Nickle in 2 years.

        • PhillyLanc

          I agree that it’s a strong possibility that he ends up leaving for more money and/or the opportunity to play outside…but there’s a chance that other teams don’t want to drop a lot of money on him when he hasn’t proven that he can play outside.
          I think if the team is playing well and Boykin is still getting plenty of playing time that as long as they don’t spend too much money on all of their other players that will be in line for new contracts that they should be able to offer him a respectable contract and maybe he’ll want to stay where his been successful. Maybe it’s just a pipe dream though – it’d be hard to pass on a big payday.

        • Johnny Domino

          You might need that money to pay others in the recent rookie classes and let Boykin shop his talents.

    • Robert Baer

      I’d be taking into consideration the talent (and their pay) that Boykin gets tasked with covering (slot receivers, running backs, etc) and how effective they are in the league -vs- how effective they are against Boykin. If he’s hampering talented players who are getting paid, he should get paid at least as much as they do. That’s how I’d begin to evaluate his market value for my team.

    • Eagles1018

      True, but at the same time is hope that Boykin is smart enough to realize his success is a also a product of where he plays on the field. I just don’t see him being as great On the outside. Put him out there against B Marshall and Alshon Jefferey. He’s getting beat all game. Unfortunate but true

      • JofreyRice

        I don’t know man. I feel like Boykin is just a playmaker. Dude chased down guys and forced fumbles multiple times at big points in the game last year. That’s got nothing to do with where you align pre-snap, or who you’re covering, it’s about being a smart, talented and active defender.

        • Eagles1018

          I concur Mr Rice. Still, it’s not rocket science he will get eaten up by the Marshall’s, Alshon Jefferey’s, Demarius Thomas’, Larry Fitz, Megatron type dudes game in and game out. Those one or two fumbles are huge but will they negate the end zone jump balls and back shoulder throws these mammoth receivers are gonna catch. All things considered (ie offense knows where the plays going, qb placement of a pass), I just can’t imagine him being successful on the outside. Now in a perfect world (because yes I’m a fan of Boykin since watching his tape after the Eagles drafted him) in a fluke 3 DB head on collision in training camp he’s the only guy left to play outside, has 8 picks this season and gets a huge contract. In the meantime I’ll take my chances with the 6’1″ guys we have right now

    • Scott J

      They can franchise him. So we can have him through the 2016 season.

      • PhillyLanc

        Who knows what the figure would be for 2016 – but if I’m not mistaken the current figure would be north of $10mil so I don’t see that happening.

  • Token

    Ugh.

    Hate to lose what could end up being one of the few real good draft picks by Howie just because the current staff has a tweaked way of looking at height over talent.

    • PhillyLanc

      I guess there shouldn’t be any surprise with the backhanded compliment for Howie…I agree though, hopefully they find a way to keep Boykin happy.

    • KSSJ4

      I think you have to look at scheme fit. If the Eagles D plays press zone outside then they need that length. I love Boykin, his talent and play making ability, but I also understand the reasoning behind what they are doing with their outside corners. It takes scheme fit to have a great defense. You can’t just have a bunch of “great” talent and mold your defense around that.

      It’s different from the offensive side of the ball. The great defenses run a certain scheme and get players and talent that fit that scheme. Offenses can be ever flowing to their great personnel, but a defense needs to be scheme first and finding the best players for that scheme.

      • Token

        But the Eagles dont play much press man contrary to popular belief. They play a off defense quite a bit.

        • A Roy

          But you have to ask why they did that. Chung is a big part of the answer. They are trying to fix the Safety position. They want to play press.

          • JofreyRice

            “They are trying to fix the Safety position. They want to play press.”. I’m not sure there is proof for either of those statements. Malcolm Jenkins isn’t a silver bullet. Carroll talked about how the scheme was similar to Mike Nolan’s in Miami, which was a derivative of LeBeau’s fire zone. Lebeau uses man coverage sometimes, but the predominant coverage is zone (unless they’re playing Tom Brady…or Tim Tebow).

  • miketd1

    Based on his statistics, you could make the argument that the Eagles put Boykin in the right position to succeed — inside.

    • Robert Baer

      Therein lies a dilemma. Do I want to remain a successful part of a successful team, or do I want to try to be successful in a different position, probably on a different team? It’s a risk, either way. If it’s about the team, they he should heavily consider staying. If it’s about himself, then he should heavily consider going for the outside spot, where ever he is. Men embrace risk because of the courage required. If Boykin wanted to test his mettle to see if he has what it takes to be an outside corner in the NFL, and he considered that more important than his personal responsibilities with the Eagles, then I would honor him for going to find out if he’s got it.

      • Richard Colton

        Nice sentiment. I’m guessing he signs with the team that offers him the best contract.

        • myeaglescantwin

          Fans are fools to think otherwise

      • JofreyRice

        I think money will be a huge motivator for Boykin, but if the Eagles are willing to match starting outside money for a guy they only play 50% of the snaps–unlikely, IMO–I think the tie-breaker will be playing time/position for Boykin. He played outside and inside at Georgia, and was publicly saying he wanted a shot to play on the perimeter, here. Can’t see him sticking around if they keep him in the slot.

      • Maggie

        “Men”?

        • OldDocRoss

          Plural of “man”.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            excellent.

      • Reasonableeaglefan

        Personal responsibilities? He is an employee of the team. If another team is willing to pay more money, he has a personal responsibility to his family, take the deal that compensate for his ability. As soon as he can no longer play, the team will feel no personal responsibility towards him. I hope he’s given a shot here, but the man should earn his money wherever that may be.

    • myeaglescantwin

      that’s the best take on this whole situation.

  • jabostick

    The other thing to consider is what the upgrade would be on the outside relative to the downgrade in the slot with whoever would replace Boykin.

  • mtn_green

    What about Watkins, he is 5-11 is he just an inside db too? Obviously there was some thought that his skills compensate for height. I would think he was drafted to play outside cb.

  • southy

    Those same stats could be used to make the statement that the size discrepancy does not have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the top corners. Notice we’re talking about the average size of guys that made the Pro Bowl. If size were really hampering them, then we’d be more likely to see an increase in the average size of Pro Bowl corners along with the increase in size of the Pro Bowl WRs, but that’s not the case.

    From my point of view, Boykin 1, BD 0

  • JofreyRice

    I thought Pinkins was going to be a S, not a cornerback; that’s what he played in college, anyway.

    I guess what I come back to is the fact that Carroll uses those giant corners to press and disrupt off the line. Davis has his guys play a lot of off coverage; either because he prefers that coverage, or he doesn’t trust the safeties. So, in Seattle they trade off some of the classic CB traits–speed, fluidity and change of direction–for the ability to disrupt the timing between the receiver and QB. For the defense they call, and the guys they have, it’s a good trade off. The Eagles did not press much, comparatively. So the Eagles trade off the movement skills for…?

    Nolan Carroll’s combine #’s say he’s 5’11 with 31″ arms. Brandon Boykins’ say 5’9″ with 31 1/4″ arms–not to mention an insane vertical. As far as I know, those are the official measurements; those are their actual physical dimensions.

    If we’re talking 6’2, or the listed 6’1, then I see a big size difference. The difference between Boykin & Carroll is 2″. The only thing that makes sense of why they’d prefer unless there is some set-in-stone minimum height requirement for outside CBs for Kelly, which rubs me the wrong way, and seems kinda un-Kelly.

    Neither Boykin nor Carroll is going to win every jump ball against >6’3″ WRs, but I like all the other stuff that Boykin does better–sticking in the receivers hip pocket, denying him space, forcing him to re-route or commit OPI, anticipating the ball, tackling. This man punched the ticket for the Eagles to go to the playoffs last year. He was HUGE the entire season, and literally looks like one of Howie’s best picks. Just give him a shot.

    • peteike

      preach !!

    • JosephR2225

      If it’s indeed a question of size, I am confident the Eagles know the measurements of both Boykin and Carroll more accurately than 3 or 5 year old combine results. The problem is no matter how well Boykin covers him, Boykin matched up against Dez Bryant on the outside is a mismatch any way you slice it. Boykin would be giving up at least 4 inches and probably close to 40 lbs.

      I like Boykin a lot, he was by far the Eagles best playmaker on defense despite limited snaps, but I can’t fault the philosophy of wanting players of a certain size at outside corner. My hope is they get a solid return for Boykin via trade before the 2015 draft.

      • peteike

        I fault that philosophy, play the best players. Just not buying the “size wins every time” debate

        • JosephR2225

          But the “best” players still have to fit within a system. Brandon Boykin is the best slot CB on the team. That doesn’t make him the best outside CB on the team.

          • Maggie

            Yes!! Some of the folks here seem to think that great inside automatically means great outside. That’s like saying whoever was blocking for Barry Sanders could run the ball like Barry Sanders.

          • peteike

            horrible analogy

          • JofreyRice

            I’d like to see Boykin be given a shot outside, that’s really all I’m saying. Nothing handed to him. I want to see him go up against Cary Williams and Nolan Carroll in a fair contest to see who the best cornerback is. If Boykin can only play the slot, then that’s fine. From the comments we’ve heard, it sounds like he’s not even under consideration, because of his height, though. For a defense that was so poor against the pass, that’s just stupid.

          • Casey

            I’m with you. I believe he’s a good enough athlete to be able to go out and face number one receivers. He may give up height but his ability to time jumping routes paired with an outrageous leaping ability more than makes up for the loss of height. I say stick him outside and let Jaylen Watkins fight for the inside job with Roc Carmichael or whoever else and allow us to put some speed and play making ability on the feild at every position.

          • paul from nc

            It’s nothing like that. Running and blocking are totally different.
            Slot and CB are somewhat different.

          • Jernst

            What?

          • peteike

            Sure, I can understand that for right now, I think were all suggesting that he may be a better option outside at some point.

      • JofreyRice

        Teams list players at the wrong size all the time. Maybe 5’11 is the cutoff.

        I hate the idea of trading Boykin. The guy could be helping the defense be better than 29th against the pass if he was on the field more often. Legit 6’1″ Cary Williams drew coverage on Bryant the first time the Eagles played the Cowboys and gave up 110 yards. I like the idea of having prototypes and specific measurables as the ideal, but I think they should be flexible enough to find spots for guys that are obviously talented football players.

        • JosephR2225

          Well assuming Cary was on his usual right side in that game, Dez hard 4 targets, 1 reception for 19 yards on the right side of the field. Most of his damage in that game came on the left side and over the middle.

          But either way, as much as I like Boykin, we are making a big assumption to say he would be as special as an outside player, consistently matched up against targets that have him at a significant size disadvantage. I feel like this is the rough equivalent of saying that Cedric Thornton was really good at DE last season, so let’s just move him to NT.

          • JofreyRice

            PFF disagrees with you. They track the matchups and have Williams down for giving up the most yards at 44, on 4 catches and 8 targets. And it’s not just about the catches he allows, remember that long bomb that Peyton overthrew to Decker in the Broncos game? Being that I haven’t seen Carroll in this system, Williams really is the prime example of valuing a poor cornerback over a much better one simply because of size.

            So we flip the more talented Boykin for maybe a 3rd rounder and are left with bummy guys with size? That doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.

          • JosephR2225

            Obviously I don’t know what the return on Boykin would be. And assuming PFF’s numbers are correct, which I’m sure they are, that’s not at all a bad game against Dez Bryant, 4 catches for 44 yards for 11.0 ypc? I’d take that any day.

            I’m not trying to pump up Cary Williams by any means. That’s a spot where the Eagles defense can definitely improve… where we disagree is in the notion that because Boykin was very good covering Victor Cruz that he would be just as good consistently covering the bigger guys on the outside. I think it’s likely he was so good inside BECAUSE he was matched up on the right receivers, and if I am the Bears and I have 5’9 Boykin covering 6’4 Brandon Marshall I would be happy throwing jump balls all day.

            I’m not saying the Eagles are necessarily right, I’m just saying I understand their thinking. You always want to put your players in favorable matchups, Boykin gets those matchups in the slot. I don’t think he gets them on the outside.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, Bryant went off for 110 yards in that game, total. I mean, it’s not often that you’re going to have one guy give up all the yardage, because of the various ways both the offense and defense align to run through their playbook, but Williams gave up the most. I’ll just say that I’d take Boykin against Bryant 10 out of 10 times over Williams on Bryant. I’m sure you feel differently.

            I can look at the matchup of 6’4″ Brandon Marshall versus 5’9″ Brandon Boykin and say on paper, Marshall wins it all day. But how about if I trade that 5’9″ Brandon Boykin for 6’2″ Nnamdi Asomugha? I mean, I agree that size is a factor, but I don’t think it’s such an important factor that it trumps ball skills, awareness, agility, speed, anticipation, hand-eye coordination, etc. And the whole point of my post is that I don’t believe Carroll is the “listed” 6’1, anyway, so those 2 inches aren’t even that big of a difference. I think he just meets the cutoff and Boykin doesn’t.

            There are several players on the defense that I think have been given a raw deal because they don’t fit some archetype that Kelly ascribes to, so in some ways, this is a meta issue with that part of his philsophy.

          • JosephR2225

            For the record I don’t have any idea whether Boykin actually would be better outside or not… I’m just saying that seems to be the Eagles philosophy, and it makes sense to me. Use guys on the outside who are sure tacklers and won’t get beat deep, keep Boykin on the inside where he has a physical advantage. None of these guys, Boykin included, are true “shutdown” corners (which are a dying breed anyway), so press your advantage where you have it and limit the damage where you don’t.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            very well said, esp. your last paragraph. I agree 100%; I think it’s not as much the (negative) mindset of “he doesn’t have requisite size”, and slightly tilted towards the more positive “being put in best position to succeed”. Plus, no one else– esp. the safeties– could cover at all last year in the slot if Boykin moved. Now, with Jenkins and possibly Watkins, the Eagles have the option to move 22 outside, deep, or a blitz look without as much concern.

        • Ark87

          Totally agree with you. Chicago’s Tim Jennings is one of the top outside corners in the league at 5-8. And he earned his reputations in a division with a ton of size at WR. The Eagles need to not over think this one, it’s hard to find difference makers in the nfl, don’t outsmart yourself with silly rules (they’re really more of guidelines anyway right?)

    • borntosuffer

      Right. Never underestimate the value of guys who make plays. Is he really going to make fewer because the receivers he covers are, on average, an inch or so taller than the slot guys? I get the metrics Chip uses as a general rule. But, that is all JUST A PROXY FOR ACTUAL PERFORMANCE. Play makers need to be on the field – as much as possible. Shift one of the other two DB’s out when you don’t need Boykin in the slot and put Boykin outside.

  • Jake and Elmo

    Am I the only Eagles fan out there who still has bad memories of Plaxico Burress using his height advantage to beat out undersized Sheldon Brown in the end zone for a game ending OT td at the Linc?

    • Kev_H

      No. This does seem like a re-run of the mid-to-late 1990s when Herman Moore and Cris Carter were running wild and the Eagles went out and got Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent. Those guys held down the fort pretty well from 1996 to 2002.

  • Michael Myers

    ok, two inches, if this works

    • Michael Myers

      cause if it did, I am shocked that my flaccid…nevermind

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  • OldDocRoss

    Eh, very questionable use of statistics by Jeff Legwold to make the point that WRs are now much bigger than CBs where once they were the same size.

    1992 seemed like an odd base year to choose. Why not a nice round number 20 years ago? Or 10? Or 25? Seems to be a case of cherry picking data to support a pre-conceived notion.

    Here’s the average heights of WRs and CBs for each Pro Bowl from 1994 to 1996*

    1994

    WRs – 1.849m

    CBs – 1.795m

    1995
    WRs – 1.850m
    CBs – 1.811m

    1996

    WRs – 1.866m
    CBs – 1.801m

    So on average about a 5cm or so difference in the height between WRs and CBs, meaning the gap back then was bigger than in 2012 and about the same as it was in 2013.

    *I ignored the 1993 Pro Bowl because the Wiki page for it is lame. Related, I got PB rosters from Wiki, so pinch of salt and all that, but you’d have to go some to convince me 1992 was chosen for reasons other than cherry picking.

    TL;DR – GIVE BOYKIN A SHOT OUTSIDE!!

    • JofreyRice

      +2 for OldDocRoss for using SI units for distance and the rigorous statistical scrutiny!

      • OldDocRoss

        I mostly couldn’t be bothered making calculations based on feet and inches in Excel!

        I had planned to do all 20 years and then make a colourful chart of average CB v average WR height over time but……hard work is hard.

    • Kev_H

      What are these strange numbers and units and what are they doing in America? There are no football players with heights less than 2.

  • Tom Kazansky

    According to Rivals, the top DB recruits are measuring 6-0 to 6-3, and the top WRs are coming in at 6-2 to 6-6. I’m sure that isn’t lost on Chip.

    Nevertheless, Boykin is awesome in the slot, and you have NFL teams that are running nickle packages on 60-70%+ of their defensive snaps. There will be a role for guys like him all across the league.

    The questions are: Will we want that 5th DB to look like Honey Badger (5-9) or Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6-3), and how will those guys get valued across the league? Does the best slot CB (ICB) in the league make $6M/year or does he play outside somewhere for $10M?

    I sincerely hope he wants to stay and that we can pay him enough to do so, but I’m not optimistic. Perhaps we’d get a great comp pick if he walks during free agency.

    • peteike

      maybe Welker and that kind of skillset, Cobb etc will get those slot guys paid more down the line. Maybe the nickel corners then get a bump also sort of like the increase in safety importance, decline of RBs.

  • Scott J

    You also have to take into account he doesn’t go up against the other teams top receivers. They may occasionally line up in the slot, but it’s usually the other teams 3rd wideout.

    • NickS1

      The three pick game against the Giants were mostly or all while guarding their top receiver, Cruz. And as more teams mix the receivers up in terms of where they align, that doesn’t hold as true. We’re doing it, the Saints do it, and there are others, that use a bigger slot sometimes.

  • Scott J

    Why are people talking like Boykin is already packing and looking for a realtor? They’ll renegotiate after this season, if he decides not to re-sign, we’ll have him through 2015, then we can franchise him through 2016. Relax people!

    • Jernst

      Nobody is franchising a slot corner and paying him $11 million to play 50% of the snaps for a yr

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  • NickS1

    Good idea to use fan voted Pro Bowlers as the basis of comparison.

  • travis papa

    Doesn’t it stand to reason if Sherman is 6′ 3″ and Peterson 6′ 1″ and the avg of PRO BOWL CBS is 5’11” than the majority of the rest of CBs is well below 5’11” like say boykins height or shorter

    • travis papa

      Also the avg height of cbs has decreased over that time frame. Strange.

  • paul from nc

    I think the Eagles are getting too hung up on size and versatility.
    I understand everybody is gung ho Chip and his Philosophy. I like his approach also, but you need to factor in heart, at some point. There are a few players that, even though short on metrics, out perform their size. I feel Boykin is such a player.

    • Kev_H

      Well if the heart is in it for the team and his best scheme fit is slot corner, then there shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a valuable role on the Eagles and he is a valuable and valued player.

  • Jernst

    I don’t like such hard line adherence to height standards. This means that if a young Darrell Green was on this team we’d let him walk in favor of a Bradley Fletcher or Nolan Carrol simply because they have the height advantage regardless of how much better Darrell Green plays. If we let Boykin go, we’ll regret it for sure.

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  • daggolden

    Joe Hayden 5 11 190lbs. does just fine against the AJ Greens of the world. Why in the world would Boykins stay on a team where he only plays 50% of the time? Would you? He is out of here after his contract is up. He has already told you he wants to play more.What part of that don’t Eagle fans understand? His point will be the Eagles were 32nd in the NFL with him playing the slot so don’t give me he is so “valuable” there.Also lets not act like Boykins was this shut down slot CB. We look at the ints and say “wow”, but in reality he made some good plays but also was torched as well.

    • Jonathan R. Henry

      I’m in favor of keeping Boykin in the slot if at all possible. He can play outside, no doubt, but you have to go with the best possible match-up.

      No, he wasn’t a shutdown slot, but there are only 2-3 true shutdown DBs in the league, and the slot is one of the harder positions because you can’t use a sideline as a defender.

      Also, it wasn’t just Boykin’s interceptions that made him valuable last season.
      From PFF:

      “The presence of big plays in a corner’s repertoire often comes at the
      expense of gambling and giving up big plays in return, but this wasn’t
      the case with Boykin. He only surrendered one completion in excess of 50
      yards all season, a 66-yarder to Rod Streater in what was statistically
      his worst performance of the season (6/9, 123 yds).

      “Sure tackling played its part in Boykin’s success here, charged with
      only two missed tackles all season he ensured that when he gave up a
      reception he didn’t compound that error with a miss that allowed the
      play to develop further (20% of the YAC he surrendered all season came
      on that reception to Streater).”

  • myeaglescantwin

    I think the whole controversy with the fans is narrowed down to one simple thing.

    They see 6 int’s at 50% of the snaps and equate that to 12 int’s with 100% of the snaps.
    That’s not necessarily the case.
    being a 5’9 defender, teams will look for mismatches coming down into the redzone. On the outside, Boykin would be on an island with undoubtedly a larger WR. That’s not the best situation for the team or for the player.

    Boykin kind of gets lost in the mix playing the inside. Davis liked to man up on the outsides and let Boykin roam the underneath zone. using that 5’9 frame to get lost in the traffic, then BOOM he springs up out of now where to jump the underneath cross or out route.

    He’s fine where he is
    You do what you do and you do it well.
    besides, if it’s not broke – don’t fix it.

  • aub32

    This is why the CBA gives team’s so much leverage over young players. Boykin is scheduled to make under $800k next year. Will he risk getting injured in a contract year with millions of guaranteed dollars on the table. CW will likely be gone after this season. There is less than 5 million wrapped up into the CB position with him gone. We have seen that the team isn’t going after big money FAs. So I don’t see how we couldn’t afford to pay Boykin like a starter and offer him a contract he couldn’t refuse. No team has seen him play on the outside. So there’s no reason to think he would get top CB money, even with his stats. I am sure he would love to play outside, but will he be willing to leave millions on the table and risk injury to do so?

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    Had no idea Marsh was 6’1″. Never bothered to check his measurables. Guess that helps explain his staying power.

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  • PaoliBulldog

    The trend toward longer CBs isn’t limited to Philadelphia and Seattle. The Eagles won’t pay Boykin Haden/Thomas Jr. money; I doubt anyone will. But I’m sure Kelly/Roseman won’t low ball him either because he’s “just” a slot corner; he’s a tremendous playmaker and will get an offer that reflects his ability.

  • Andrew Bruno

    It’s not about Boykin playing outside, it’s about him getting LOOKS outside! He’s a talented playmaker. Put him on the field. If you’re in the redzone, and the jump ball is an issue for a mismatch, don’t put him outside on a bigger WR. If you’re playing a specific package that requires a guy tight in coverage and the receiver has skills in the open field, put Boykin on him. How many times do I have to suggest a defensive package with confusion? Malcom Jenkins comes into the box and then drops back to cover the slot guy, Boykin drops to the outside and we blitz with an outside CB. People need to stop thinking so black and white. There are ways to get Boykin on the field or covering the outside without him being a full time starter. The basic principle is that he will bring success when on the field. Let’s find ways to utilize him more often.