INDIANAPOLIS - The Patriots always seem to be in the market for versatility and defensive backs, so it would make sense if they were interested in a cornerback who won an award for being the nation's most versatile player.
Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin took home the 2011 Paul Hornung Award after excelling for the Bulldogs in all three phases of the game. Boykin played nearly every down at cornerback, returned kickoffs and punts, played on the kickoff and punt teams and saw action at tailback, wide receiver and quarterback in what he called the Wild Dog Offense for Georgia.
"It exemplifies a complete player, in my opinion," Boykin said of the award, which he was a finalist for in 2010 as well. "It was an honor to be chosen. Me being somebody that always wants to play a position and be versatile - there's no greater award."
Boykin's versatility is not just limited to playing offense and special teams. He's also shown the ability to perform in different roles as a cornerback - something that no doubt would be of far greater importance for teams looking to draft him.
Projected as a second- or third-round pick, Boykin feels his ability to perform on the outside as well as the slot makes him an attractive prospect. Not surprisingly, he learned the benefits of versatility from watching another Georgia star.
"Charles Woodson is one of the guys I try to model my game after, and of course being from Georgia Champ Bailey is kind of the standard," Boykin said of the Broncos All-Pro. "Little bit of both of those guys and being able to play offense and defense I feel like I'm a little more of a Champ Bailey guy.
"I enjoy playing nickel - it's like being at linebacker but I can play both. It's a tough position to learn and I had to learn it pretty quick."