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Carolina Panthers

Four Things To Know About Brandon Boykin

1. HE'S MOST COMFORTABLE AT NICKEL: Newly-signed cornerback Brandon Boykin feels most comfortable at nickel, and that's exactly what the Panthers were looking for.

"That's where I've thrived in the past four years," Boykin said.

Carolina could add another cornerback to the mix during the draft, but as of now, the Panthers are in a good spot with Boykin manning the slot and cornerback Bene Benwikere shifting to the outside.

"To come in and compete to be a part of this defense is a blessing," Boykin said. "I'm truly excited because this is the best opportunity I could ask for."

2. CAROLINA WAS ALWAYS HIS TOP CHOICE: Boykin received a "handful" of offers from other interested teams, but he always hoped something would work out with the defending NFC Champions, who have fielded a top 10 defense each of the last four years.

In fact, Boykin said he took less to join the Panthers.

"This opportunity to play and be a part of Thieves Ave. and make plays – I've just heard so many great things," Boykin said. "I had offers from other teams, but this was the best opportunity. This is where I wanted to be from the jump."

3. THE GEORGIA CONNECTION IS STRONG: Boykin was quick to mention linebacker Thomas Davis and Charles Johnson – fellow members of the University of Georgia football family – when discussing the free agency process.

"I've known Thomas ever since I was at Georgia. He was always checking on me and in the offseason we do camps together with Charles Johnson," Boykin said. "The Georgia connection is really strong. When they heard I was coming here on a visit they reached out and were checking in on me."

4. PAST YEAR WAS A DIFFICULT CHALLENGE: Boykin's 2015 season in Pittsburgh was a confusing one. After the Eagles traded him to the Steelers during training camp, he spent most of the season in a reserve role. It wasn't until late in the year when he was given a chance to make significant contributions.

"A really weird year, honestly," Boykin said. "A lot of things happened to me that were out of my control and I still don't understand. But the past is the past and I've grown from it."

"A lot of people could have given up or gotten really angry. But I always kept that major chip on my shoulder and it helped me along the way."

Needless to say, Boykin is eager to prove himself and start fresh in Carolina.

"I feel like it's a reset year for me," said Boykin, who recorded a career-high six interceptions in 2013. "I had a lot of success early on in my career and the past two years have been with trials. But I think is a true fresh start for me. Getting traded in the middle of training camp was kind of hard to go through. I'm going to learn everything and have an honest shot to be the player I know I can be on a consistent basis."

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