For the past three seasons, Tarvaris Jackson has held down the fort as the Seahawks’ backup quarterback. Luckily, he hasn’t had to play any meaningful minutes since Russell Wilson has been drafted. Despite the lack of use, hedging the quarterback position is an extremely important priority for any team. Many championship-caliber seasons have been lost by teams whose quarterbacks went down with injuries (a tribute to the Matt Cassel-led Dallas Cowboys).
An extremely disappointing announcement over the last week has made it very unlikely that Jackson will return to Seattle’s roster. It seems that, at this moment, the stars have aligned for Trevone Boykin to take over as Seattle’s backup signal caller in 2016.
Boykin, an undrafted free agent out of Texas Christian University, saw his draft stock plummet after a barroom brawl that immediately resulted in a suspension from the team’s bowl game against Oregon. The former Heisman hopeful was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and public intoxication. Boykin likely would have been selected in the later rounds of the 2016 Draft had he not been arrested.
Boykin has beaten out fellow undrafted quarterback Vernon Adams to steal a spot on Seattle’s preseason roster. To win the backup job, he must outcompete Jake Heaps, a local product with minimal NFL experience. It is common conception that, at this point, Boykin is the front-runner for the position. Roster spots are never guaranteed on Pete Carroll’s squad, but there is a healthy chance that the TCU product will wear blue and green in September.
But just how prepared is Boykin to be thrust into playing time if, God forbid, Russell Wilson is forced out of a game? Let’s analyze some of his college tape to get a better idea of his skill set.
Trevone Boykin was projected to go in the later rounds of the draft for a reason. A very raw passer with a gunslinger mentality and an unconventional release is always going to draw a hefty amount of doubt.
Then again, it’s easy to possess an air raid mindset when you have Josh Doctson balling out like this:
Boykin will need to realize that life in the NFL is a bit different in that you can’t just expect to throw up 50/50 balls all the time hoping your receiver comes down with it. His aggressive disposition can lead to dangerous passes that would be sure disaster as a professional.
Boykin also has an innate tendency to throw off of his back foot, especially when facing blitzing defenders. Despite having very active feet, he relies solely on his arm talent too much, leading to errant tosses like this:
If Boykin wants to remain on Seattle’s roster, he will have to hone his footwork and learn to set his feet, even when pressured. A quicker release would aid in passes under duress, as well.
But don’t worry. Boykin has shown flashes of NFL qualities that are very encouraging. If he can build upon these traits and increase their frequency, he could be a competent backup for Russell Wilson over the next three or more seasons.
Boykin has shown an ability to anticipate where his receivers will be and thread the football through opponents in coverage.
Despite three converging defenders, Boykin places the ball in the rapidly closing window and picks up the first down. Russell Wilson has shown a propensity for fitting the ball in tight spaces. Boykin demonstrating a similar quality is promising.
Although he has relied on throwing multitudes of jump balls to Josh Doctson, Boykin does show an aptitude in the deep passing game.
If he can build on his ability to drop beautiful arcs like this into his receivers’ bread baskets, there’s no reason why he can’t do the same when distributing balls to Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson.
Boykin has also demonstrated an aptitude in contorting his arm to bend the ball around rushing defenders.
The way Boykin creates his own throwing lanes can be reminiscent of Cam Newton at times.
One of the most exciting qualities that Trevone Boykin possesses is his capability to sense and escape pressure.
Don’t try and tell me this isn’t reminiscent of Russell Wilson tossing a sideline dart to Sidney Rice.
With elite shiftiness…
…and deceptively dominant straight-line speed…
…Boykin has the capacity to grow into a reliable playmaker for Seattle’s offense. Asking him to play up to Russell Wilson’s ability is unfair, as Russ is an irreplaceable talent. But Trevone Boykin is a playmaker and there is always room in Pete Carroll’s depth chart (and heart) for someone who can make plays like this:
It’s easy to see the "It-factor" that some players inherently have. Boykin has it.
The most vital skill Boykin must bring to the table is his ability to correctly predict coin flips, something Tarvaris Jackson has been adept at for years. If Boykin can prove his worth at projecting aerial currency trajectories, we should all be in for an exciting preseason from the newest undrafted Seahawk.
While there is time for a great deal to change, Boykin enters training camp as the favorite to be backup quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. The purpose of this piece is not to say that Boykin will become Russell Wilson or Cam Newton. I don't expect him to come close. Nobody knows how he will actually perform if he is thrust into playing time in 2016. The statement is simply that, if Boykin is willing to put in the time and effort, he has the capability of becoming a proficient game manager who makes the occasional game-breaking play.
And according to many of the large-scale media sources, isn't that what Russell Wilson has done for the past four seasons? I'll take that in a backup quarterback any day of the week.
(Note: Trevone Boykin has just been charged for assault in regard to the barfight that occured in January. He is set to be arraigned in August, putting his entire outlook in doubt.)