Secondary remained a primary concern of the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the 2015 off season, and as the team begins its second week of training camp at St. Vincent’s in Latrobe, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are apparently still looking to bolster their defensive backfield.
In a surprise move the Pittsburgh Steelers have acquired cornerback Brandon Boykin from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a conditional 5th round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Eagles drafted Boykin in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Boykin played his college ball at the University of Georgia. While Boykin has appeared in 48 NFL games, he has only made six starts. His best season came in 2013 when he recorded 6 interceptions, including one pick six.
How Boykin Fits Into the Steelers Secondary
While corernback was an area of prime need for the Steelers during the off season, the team worked aggressively to address the position in the 2015 NFL Draft, picking Senquez Golson in the 2nd round and taking Doran Grant in 4th round.
- Senquez Golson has been on the PUP list since camp began however.
Aside from the two new rookies, the Steelers return William Gay and Cortez Allen, who signed a rich extension last year only to find himself benched by mid season. The Steelers let Brice McCain go in free agency, but retain Antwon Blake. They also have B.W. Webb, whom they acquired from Dallas last year, and who held down a roster spot but played little.
The Steelers are not known as a team that makes trades, but they are becoming more common. The Steelers traded the late Adrian Robinson for Felix Jones during 2013 training camp, and they also traded for Levi Brown during the 2013 season, but Brown injured himself in warmups and never played a down.
- Boykin has talent and can perform as his 2013 success in ballhawking shows, but he apparently fell out of favor with Chip Kelly.
Brandon Boykin will not be handed anything in Pittsburgh. Mike Tomlin does not work that way. But he will do what neither Doran Grant nor even a healthy Senquez Golson can do – push Gay, Allen and Blake. Tomlin, Keith Butler and Carnell Lake may have confidence in their cornerbacks, but Steelers trade for Brandon Boykin shows they are not about to let those men get comfortable.