Before the season, no one knew that Jarrett Boykin, David Bakhtiari, and Micah Hyde would be major players in the Green Bay Packers’ success.
If someone would have predicted this early on, I would have called them crazy then, but would be taking them to Las Vegas now. Those three names were major unknowns as the NFL started training camp. Now, they are three big pieces of the puzzle that has the Green Bay Packers in first place in the NFC North.
Jarrett Boykin was the all-time receiving yards and receptions leader at Virginia Tech, after being recruited as only a three star prospect. Despite those records at Virginia Tech, Boykin was not drafted in 2012. He was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, only to be cut a month later. The Jaguars’ loss was the Packers’ gain as they signed Boykin and kept him on their opening day roster.
Ironically enough, Boykin’s first career catch came against the Jaguars. Boykin had a quiet rookie season, only catching six passes for 27 yards. But, after wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb went down with injuries, Boykin was tabbed as the “next man up.” Almost a year after making his NFL debut, Boykin made his first start memorable by catching eight passes for 103 yards and his first career touchdown. Now with tight end Jermichael Finley out for the foreseeable future, Boykin will be asked to step up his game and show why he holds those records at Virginia Tech.
In the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Packers selected left tackle David Bakhtiari out of the University of Colorado. Bakhtiari was drafted to be the backup to current left tackle Bryan Bulaga, who the Packers moved to the left side of the offensive line as their best lineman. But, Bulaga tore his ACL during training camp, forcing the Packers to turn to the fourth round pick.
Right from the beginning, Bakhtiari showed promise by protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side. So far this season, Bakhtiari has only given up four sacks and has only allowed Rodgers to be hit two times. Considering he is the only rookie starting left tackle, I think he is doing a great job for the Packers and could be a main part in the team’s future.
The last of the unknowns is cornerback Micah Hyde. Hyde, a three year starter at Iowa, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft. Hyde showed his talent right away, making some big plays during the preseason. With cornerback Casey Hayward out to start the season, Hyde was tabbed to play when the Packers defense went to their “dime” and “nickel” packages.
After Cobb went down against the Baltimore Ravens, Hyde earned the role as the new punt returner. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, Hyde scored his first career touchdown on a 93-yard punt return. By the time Hayward is healthy and can return, the Packers will have a very dangerous secondary that will add to their newly found rush defense.
Boykin, Bakhtiari, and Hyde are each showing that just because a player is drafted in a low round or is undrafted, that doesn’t mean they don’t have great talent. The perfect example is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was drafted with pick 199 in the sixth round in the 2000 NFL draft. But, after Drew Bledsoe got hurt early on in 2001, Brady took over and the rest is history. I’m not saying that these three will reach Brady’s status, but they all have a chance to become mainstays on the Packers for a long time.
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