It’s become one of the closest competitions in training camp, a battle between a tested veteran and a talented rookie, and right now it’s too close to call.

Joselio Hanson and Brandon Boykin are locked in a tight duel for an important job with the Eagles, even though it’s not a starting job. The two are competing to be the nickel cornerback, an extra pass defender when teams go to three- and four-wide receiver sets, which NFL teams do more and more every year.

“We make it as simple as we can in the evaluation process,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “Whoever is playing the best will play. And that’s a close competition there."

And Reid said he’s in no hurry to make a decision, even though it’s an important one.

“We’ll leave that as open competition," he said.

Boykin said he was a bit overwhelmed when he first reported to training camp, but he’s ready to compete for playing time now.

“When you first get here everything happens so fast and you don’t really know what you’re doing and it can be a struggle at times,’’ he said. “But things have slowed down a lot for me and I know the defense much better and I’m a lot more comfortable. I’m finally able to kind of cut loose and not have to think my way through everything.

“Don’t get me wrong, I know I still have a long way to go," he added. “But I’m getting there."

Boykin, a fourth-round pick from Georgia, is also the No. 1 kick returner and he’s getting a lot of work as one of the “gunners’ on punt coverage – the players who line up wide and are generally the first ones downfield to make a play. That’s a lot for a rookie to tackle, literally and figuratively, but Boykin doesn’t mind.

"I did pretty much everything at Georgia – offense, defense, special teams – so I’m used to having a lot on my plate," he said. "I’m like everyone else – just waiting to see how this how comes out. I just want to go out and do my job and eventually the coaches will decide if I’m doing it good enough."

Hanson has played this role before and he came into training camp as the favorite to keep it, especially since Boykin is a rookie. But that was then and this is now.

“Obviously, Boykin is learning and getting better every day,’’ Reid said. “So that gap is closing.”

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow him on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLPHI.