ATHENS - Brandon Boykin was at Georgia's Pro Day on Monday, but the now-former Georgia cornerback did not run for scouts. Nor did he do much else.
Boykin, who broke a bone in his leg in the Senior Bowl, did do these things: Exude confidence over his future despite the injury, say that Malcolm Mitchell can play cornerback if needed, and that Damian Swann will have a good sophomore season.
When he finished his senior season, Boykin was regarded as a candidate to be picked as high as the second round in April's NFL draft, due to his speed and versatility. But that was thrown into doubt on Jan. 30, when he suffered a cracked fibula in his right leg while he was running downfield on a punt.
“Got directly kicked on it. Walked off the field and didn’t even know it until I got an X-ray," he said. “It was frustrating, the timing was terrible. But at the same time the combine and pro day isn’t the be-all end-all. I feel like I had a really good career, and people know I can do a lot of great things. I’m a very versatile person, my speed and athleticism shouldn’t be a question. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”
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Boykin and defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson were the only starters Georgia lost from the 2011 defense, which finished ranked third in the nation. Tyson worked out before scouts on Monday, running the 40 and lifting weights.
But Boykin, who rated himself at "85 percent" healthy, said he would wait until he was 100 percent to hold his own private workout. He said that would be April in Athens. And he expressed confidence that the injury won't hurt his draft position, saying four years of film from his Georgia days should back up his ability. And Boykin never missed a game in college, as he pointed out.
“I had an injury, but I know I’ll be fine. I know once I get right, I’ll be able to go out and compete,” Boykin said.
Meanwhile, Boykin was asked about the burning issue for Georgia this spring: Whether Mitchell will make the transition from full-time receiver to also playing cornerback. Boykin is in a unique position to pontificate on it, since he played part-time receiver, as well as returning kicks and punts. Boykin flourished in the role, scoring touchdowns via receiving and rushing, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the season opener against Boise State.
So can Mitchell play both positions too?
“I think you gotta be in teremedous shape," Boykin said. "I think he could do certain times, maybe, certain quarters, but to do it throughout the entire game. I’m not saying he can’t do it. But doing that and playing offense as well, that’s a tough task. … I know that he can play corner, he can be a really good corner. So if they need him there he can be a really good corner.”
Boykin thinks it would be easier for Mitchell to play part-time on defense.
“I think it’d probably be more difficult to get in the flow on offense," he said. "Kind of having to be alert, and get the ball whenever. It might be a little easier to be a (part-time) defensive player. He has the skills and the ability. And just that alone, even if it’s man coverage, something he doesn’t have to focus on (and) learn, he’ll be able to do it.”
The cornerback position is a concern for Georgia after Boykin's graduation, the loss of several players to dismissal and transfer, and Sanders Commings' two-game suspension to open the season.
But Boykin has a high opinion of Swann, who will be a sophomore this season.
“I’m expecting Swann to have a really good year," Boykin said. "For him to come in and play like he did last year, even though it was just a little bit. He showed what he knew what to do. That’s the biggest thing. He’s tough.”