Recently, scouting analyst Dave-Te Thomas ran down the Titans’ 2016 draft class for PFR and had positive things to say about Byard, who he believes can make an impact right out of the gate:
“Ever since LeBeau became a coordinator, he has surrounded himself with smart, instinctive safeties. Last year, the Titans made a great move by securing the services of former Bills strong safety Da’Norris Searcy. Now, in Byard, they believe they have a ball-hawk free safety to pair with to Searcy’s hard-hitting style. Byard has nineteen interceptions to show for those ball-hawking skills at MTSU, but despite his pedigree and fine performances in practice at the 2016 Senior Bowl, he was not invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. The Titans realized what he can offer, as he not only set the school all-time theft mark, but also returned those interceptions for 377 yards and four touchdowns.
Byard’s arrival does not mean he will be the instant starter at free safety, which is where Arizona castoff Rashad Johnson resides. His versatility (he played every secondary position in college) will see him be called upon to play the slot corner spot in passing situations and he could also be utilized as a Cover-2 linebacker vs. the run. All that stands in his way for playing time is a challenge from veteran Marqueston Huff, along with Daimion Stafford and Lamarcus Brutus for the two safety spots on the second unit.”
Here is the complete rundown of the Titans’ 2016 class:
- 1-8: Jack Conklin, T (Michigan State)
- 2-33: Kevin Dodd, DE/OLB (Clemson)
- 2-43: Austin Johnson, DL (Penn State)
- 2-45: Derrick Henry, RB (Alabama)
- 3-64: Kevin Byard, DB (Middle Tennessee State)
- 5-140: Tajae Sharpe, WR (Massachusetts)
- 5-157: LeShaun Sims, CB (Southern Utah)
- 6-193: Sebastian Tretola, OL (Arkansas)
- 7-222: Aaron Wallace, LB (UCLA)
- 7-253: Kalan Reed, DB (Southern Mississippi)
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.