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NFL Draft 2016 Profile: Trevone Boykin and the Joys of Mobile Quarterbacking

Should the Eagles have interest?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago, many were questioning whether or not Trevone Boykin could play quarterback at *any* level. He had just experienced a shaky 2013 as a sophomore where he struggled and was constantly switched out at quarterback and moved to receiver a few times. TCU's offense was a mess and after the season, the Horned Frogs revamped their offensive staff. Boykin won the starting job heading into the 2014 and once he took the field, he looked like a totally new quarterback. In 2014, Boykin had absolutely mastered the offense and TCU had one of the most explosive offenses in the country thanks to his arms and legs. In 2015, he got *even* better, improving on throwing passes to the middle of the field and overall tightening up his accuracy. In 2015, he looked like a true star.

One of the things I look for is how players improve throughout college, because it can be indicative of their growth potential in the NFL. Trevone Boykin will be an excellent case study because he saw tremendous growth during his time at TCU and is on a serious upward trend. He is not polished in the way that would make me think he could start day one for a team, but the growth he went through from 2013 to now is tremendously encouraging.

There is something standing in the way of his NFL career, though... People are obsessed with the idea of moving him to wide receiver.

Folks, let me tell you why this quixotic point of view makes no sense: Wide receiver is by far the most loaded position in the NFL. The 20th best receiver in the league could probably take over as a full time #1. Most teams have at least two very good wide receivers and there are plenty of talented wideouts who go undrafted on a yearly basis due to the over saturation of receivers in football. So why would a quarterback who has played the position at a tremendously high level in college switch to the most crowded position in the league when we have spent our nights watching the likes of Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Blaine Gabbert playing meaningful football. It is ludicrous and the fact is that people obsess over what Boykin cannot do to prove he should move to wide receiver rather than look all he can do and has done.

The honest to god truth is that mobile quarterbacks are better than your average statue, anyway. If you take two quarterbacks of equal passing ability, but one can burn in a straight line and extend plays, give me that guy 100 times out of 100. For one, a true mobile threat will increase the potency of a running game because it forces the defense to take an extra moment to react to a handoff because there is a chance a quarterback can take off. Also, when a play breaks down, mobile quarterbacks have a much greater chance at creating offense whereas your average statue will either get no or negative yardage. A truly mobile quarterback will also force defenses to play the potential of a quarterback run, even on passing plays, which makes it true 11 on 11 football, giving the offense a new advantage... Mobile. Quarterbacks. Create. Points. Points. Win. Football. Games. Anyone telling you otherwise is overcomplicating things.

Boykin is absolutely a quarterback, but how good of a prospect is he?

As a passer, Boykin's best plays are down the field when he can just gun it 20 or more yards. He is an excellent "see and throw" type of passer and does an excellent job to trust his weapons doing what they do best, either dominating the catch point or trusting them to separate down the field. Boykin is a very cerebral passer, showing ability to make checks pre snap and has a great understanding of creating and exploiting mismatches as a passer. When asked to make more anticipatory throws, that is where Boykin struggles. He has done it before and certainly has the ability to do it, but his issue mainly is that he still needs to work on varying his velocity for different throws. Sometimes he wants to gun it on passes that need a bit more air under them and they can cause misses or turnovers. That is by far my biggest concern with him is him making more those tighter, middle of the field passes that NFL offenses will ask him to make more often than he did at TCU.

In the pocket, Boykin offers a lot of nice things. For one, he is not afraid of contact and will rarely get rattled by pressure. Even better is his ability to extend plays and create outside of the pocket; either picking up yards or throwing on extended plays. The thing about Boykin's athletic ability is that it is very legit and he has the speed and agility to shake NFL defenders right out of their shoes. He has tremendous vision as a runner and forces defenses to account for that aspect of his game on every play.

So he is an excellent deep passer who can make plays with his legs, which is basically the opposite of Philly quarterbacks the last few years...

NFL Comparison: Trevone Boykin has a lot of current Tyrod Taylor to his game. Tyrod enjoyed an excellent first year as a starter where his ability as a deep passer and mobile threat made the Buffalo offense dynamic when he was in. Boykin offers a lot of the same ability and I believe that with some grooming he can become a playmaker in the NFL.

His fit in Philadelphia takes a bit more projection, but I still would not hesitate to draft him. The Eagles have an encouraging assembly of coaches who specialize in working with quarterbacks and if they can do work with a young quarterback, I prefer it be a young quarterback with Boykin's immense talent. He makes sense as a mid day two draft pick and any team in need of a quarterback should consider drafting Boykin because if the last two seasons are any indication, the only way is up for the young quarterback.

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