Steelers should kick the tires on recently released Ravens wide receiver

Pittsburgh Steelers (Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Pittsburgh Steelers (Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are starving for depth at wide receiver. Here’s why they should consider signing this failed Ravens project WR. 

As the Steelers inch closer to the NFL Draft, anxious fans have to be wondering why they haven’t addressed the wide receiver position yet in free agency. Gunnar Olszewski should make for a fine return man, but his 9 career receptions in his first three seasons as an active member of the New England Patriots is nothing to write home about.

During the free agency period this year, Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud to opposing teams while doing almost nothing to replace them.

Now we are just days away from the 2022 NFL Draft and Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are the only two viable WR options on the team. To be fair, it’s pretty slim pickings at this point. Most of the quality receivers were snatched up early in free agency, and Pittsburgh may not be willing to go with an overpriced, aging slot option like Jarvis Landry or Cole Beasley.

Recently, the Baltimore Ravens cut ties with former 2019 third-round pick, Miles Boykin. Though his tenure with the team didn’t go as planned, the Steelers may want to kick the tires on Boykin, thanks to his remarkably rare skill set.

Steelers should consider WR Miles Boykin

If you recall, Boykin was a star pupil of the 2019 NFL Combine. At 6’3 3/4” and 220 pounds, Boykin ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, recorded a 43.5” vertical jump, an 11’8” broad jump, and a 4.07 shuttle. The collection of these traits made Boykin a 99th percentile athlete, according to his Relative Athletic Score.

Prior to entering the 2019 NFL Draft, Boykin had a very respectable season at Notre Dame — posting 59 receptions for 872 yards and 8 touchdowns. Sadly, he wasn’t able to build on this in the NFL.

In his first three years in Baltimore, Boykin earned just 470 yards and 7 touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference. In his most recent season, Boykin was bumped way down on the depth chart and ultimately played just 6 percent of snaps over 8 games for the Ravens last year.

In reality, I think Boykin is a much better athlete/tester than he is a football player. But there could still be some value in bringing him in. Boykin has lots of special teams experience over his first three seasons (417 snaps, to be exact). His size and speed make him a quality option as a gunner and on kickoff coverage.

For the Steelers, Boykin could begin the 2022 season as the team’s fourth wide receiver and he could backup both the ‘Z’ and ‘X’ positions. Boykin would, at the very least, offer some insurance if Chase Claypool or Diontae Johnson were to go down with an injury.

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For whatever reason, Boykin just didn’t mesh with what the Ravens wanted to do. While Boykin will probably never be a difference-maker in the NFL, he possesses the size and speed to stick on an NFL roster. The Steelers should at least consider this as a depth signing prior to the NFL Draft.