There was a lot of optimism surrounding rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin when the Baltimore Ravens broke training camp back in August. It seemed as though the 2019 third-round pick was making a play every day. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Boykin possessed a unique blend of size and speed.
The expectation was that Boykin would be a dynamic playmaker for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
However entering this week, Boykin only has nine receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns through seven games. Assistant head coach/passing game coordinator/WR coach David Culley offered an explanation about the lack of production from Boykin.
"I've always felt this way, as a wide receiver, it's probably the toughest position because of the run game and the pass game, when it comes to learning everything that you need to know," Culley explained. "I think the volume got him a little bit, which affected him thinking about things instead of just reacting, and I think it was more so of him just not being as comfortable as he was early when he was just playing and reacting and not thinking about things. But as the offense got more and more [complex], he started thinking about things, and I think that had a lot to do with that."
Fellow rookie wideout Marquis Brown and Boykin scored touchdowns in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. Brown, who was selected on the first round, had 147 yards and two touchdowns in that game.
Brown was stuck on the Physically Unable to Perform list for most of training camp but that didn't stop him from getting off to a fast start.
Meanwhile, Boykin failed to catch a pass in two games before the Ravens had the bye last week. On the positive side, Boykin's big-play ability resurfaced when he posted a 50-yard reception in a 30-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Boykin's position coach feels that is something to build on.
"I think right now at this point, I think he's in a good place," Culley said. "The play he made Sunday was one of those instances where I think early in the year... the thing he did on that play— Lamar [Jackson] got outside the pocket, he started running and immediately Miles [Boykin] took off. Early in the year in the first couple of ball games, I don't know if that would have happened. And so, that's just the natural progression for him of now understanding to just play and just react, and I think he's doing that now.”
At 5 and 2, the Ravens are sitting pretty at the top of the AFC North division, especially since the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns struggled through the first half of the season.
Sunday night's prime time game against the New England Patriots in Baltimore will be a huge test for the Ravens. It's the start of a rugged six-game stretch in which the team will face tough opponents such as the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. The Ravens will without a doubt need Boykin to elevate his game and become a bigger part of their passing attack.