Boykin trade could really help Steelers secondary
The Steelers lacked depth at cornerback going into the season, so they decided to trade for one of the better nickelbacks in the league in Brandon Boykin (they sent a fifth-round pick to the Eagles that could turn into a fourth-rounder).
Brice McCain did a decent job for Pittsburgh in the slot in 2014, but he left in free agency. William Gay is also effective in the slot, but seeing as how he is the Steelers’ top cornerback, leaving him on the outside is clearly the plan.
Boykin has been one of the better slot corners in the league the past two years. Back in 2013 he snagged six interceptions despite being on the field for just 51.6 percent of snaps. Last season didn’t result in as many big plays, but Boykin still excelled in his role, limiting QBs to a rating of just 78.2 when they targeted him. That made him a top-five slot cornerback in our grading system.
There’s also no reason why Boykin shouldn’t be able to assume a starting role, either. Presumably he hasn’t been given that opportunity previously due to his lack of ideal height for the position (he’s 5-foot-9), but until he’s given a chance to start it seems unfair to define him as a nickel only. Either way, however, he should provide a big upgrade for a Pittsburgh secondary that needs one.