The question is asked nearly every day here at BTSC. Whether it is through email, Twitter or Facebook, everyone wants to know why cornerback Brandon Boykin isn't playing. After all, when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded a conditional 5th round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the season, you would think a player who would get such attention via trade would see the field.
Boykin is seeing the field, but strictly as a special teams player. Throughout the first 10 games of the season, you have heard the same song and dance from coaches like Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin. They like Boykin and how he plays, but he has to crack the starting lineup.
The player, who has been forced to watch teammates like Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell play over him, hasn't ruffled feathers, but simply stated he will be ready if and when his number is finally called to see the field outside of special teams.
Finally, defensive backs coach Carnell Lake shed some light on why Boykin isn't seeing the field on the defensive side of the football.
"Somebody else would have to be playing badly right now" for him to get off the sideline. "I have faith and confidence that he can play," Lake told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. "It's just that we're doing OK."
There have been a myriad of theories as to why Boykin isn't playing. The snap total which could have turned the 5th round draft pick sent to Philadelphia into a 4th round pick, the fact of Cockrell being available made Boykin expendable and even the theory of him being in the Tomlin 'doghouse'. The one theory which wasn't hotly debated was the fact he simply isn't good enough.
Are William Gay, Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell better than Boykin? You may disagree, but Carnell Lake certainly thinks so, and the snap totals back up such a sentiment. So what now for Boykin? He becomes a free agent at the conclusion of the 2015 season, and it is likely he will be looking for a job elsewhere, but the Steelers might just make a play at bringing him back if their other secondary free agents (Gay and Blake) jettison for greener pastures.
This is a tough blow for Boykin supporters, but at least some light has finally been shed on this topic which has kept so many in the dark for a long time.