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Eagles Trade Brandon Boykin to Steelers for Fifth Rounder


In what looks like an absolute steal on paper, the Philadelphia Eagles have traded defensive back Brandon Boykin to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The trade fills a desperate position of need for Pittsburgh after losing Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu in a single offseason.

The Steelers’ pass defense left much to be desired last season, with Taylor dealing with niggling injuries all year, Polamalu and Mike Mitchell regularly miscommunicating in deep coverage, and 2013 breakout corner Cortez Allen failing to live up to a fraction of his big money contract.

The Eagles suffered from a similarly poor secondary in 2014, but through no fault of Boykin’s. The 25-year-old fourth rounder will be entering only his fourth professional season, and has already developed a reputation as one of the game’s most skilled slot defenders.

His six interceptions in 2013 were a big part of Chip Kelly’s memorable debut season. Boykin had a quieter 2014, amassing only one pick and one forced fumble, but the Steelers have to be pleased with the infusion of any fresh blood into their defense, let alone a youngster with as high a ceiling as Boykin.

The “conditional” nature of the draft pick will depend on how many starts Boykin makes and how well he performs, which may improve the compensation to a fourth round selection.

Even so, it’s hard to see where Philadelphia saw value in a Day 3 draft pick offered in exchange for a key component of their secondary. Not that it should make too much difference, but perhaps the Eagles see more value in a fifth-round pick than the Steelers.

Not including 2015, the Steelers’ last three fifth-round picks were corner Shaquille Richardson (now a Cardinal), corner Terry Hawthorne (currently a free agent) and tailback Chris Rainey (swiftly waived after allegations of domestic violence).

As they say, there’s a reason the game is played, and until next offseason it will be hard to judge who won this trade. But for Pittsburgh, it’s a step in the right direction towards improving their weakest link and fielding a competent defense this year.

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