Boykin went undrafted out of Virginia Tech in 2012 and signed with Jacksonville. He lasted through the team's rookie camp and was dumped.
A weekend later, he was in Green Bay, participating on a tryout basis at the Packers' rookie orientation camp. He was good enough to get signed, good enough to make the roster and good enough to catch 49 passes when thrust into a larger-than-anticipated role last season.
"Yeah, it's disheartening. It fuels you," Boykin said when looking back on his short stay in Jacksonville. "You can't sit there and mope around. What, are you going to let the next opportunity pass by? No, you're going to grab the next opportunity and it should actually make you work harder. The things that you didn't do prior and make sure you don't make those same mistakes. I think it kind of just makes you work even harder than what you're already doing. Once you get that mentality, I think it's unstoppable."
Unstoppable is what Boykin has in mind.
With James Jones in Oakland, Jermichael Finley's career (in Green Bay, anyway) in jeopardy, a bunch of unproven players behind him on the depth chart and no proven receiving threat at tight end, Boykin figures to enter this season as the No. 3 target in the passing game.
Could Boykin have imagined this rise from the football abyss? After all, if you're not good enough for a perennial doormat like the Jaguars, then who could dream about becoming a prime target for Aaron Rodgers?
"I don't short myself on any of my dreams," Boykin said. "I always figured I'd have an opportunity at some point in time. It's just the way I am. I'm a competitor, I'm a fighter. I'm going to fight until my last breath. You couldn't tell me that I wasn't going to play in the NFL when I was a little kid. I think that goes the same for every other individual that plays the sport. I think it's just all about your preparation and what are you doing for yourself that can help you further advance yourself in this league."
Having started his Packers career as the sixth receiver on the depth chart, the expectations are much higher now. He barely played in the first four games of last season and caught just one pass in the fifth game, when Randall Cobb was lost at Baltimore. That meant Boykin had 48 catches for 638 yards and three touchdowns in the final 11 games. Put those numbers up for 16 games, and Boykin would wind up with 70 receptions for 928 yards. His catch rate of 67.6 percent during that span would have ranked 12th among NFL receivers with at least 48 catches.
In that context, Boykin's goals don't seem too outrageous.
"I kind of try to take it day by day and set individual goals for myself," Boykin said. "I want to be a household name. I want to be a Pro Bowl receiver. I want to have 1,000 yards, I want to have big-time touchdowns — 10-plus touchdowns. Those are things that you want to do as a player. If you're not striving for those things, then what are you playing for? You don't want to be mediocre. You want to be great. You want to be one of the best that's ever done it."
Boykin started eight games last season and played at least 72 percent of the snaps in 10 games, according to ProFootballFocus.com. While Boykin is quick to point out that "nothing's really guaranteed," there's little doubt that he's going to be a major focal point of the offense.
That's quite a change compared to where he was at the bottom of the receiving depth chart at this time in 2012.
That doesn't mean his mind-set has changed. While he's never lacked confidence, that chip on the shoulder that he took with him from Jacksonville will always be there.
"Just be dominant," Boykin said. "Just try to dominate every aspect of the game. Be physical. Honestly, what I'm thinking is just be a dog. Snatch everything, be physical off the line, get open every time. Just have the mentality that you can't be stopped."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.