Murfreesboro, Tennessee to Nassau, Bahamas, first game to final. Kevin Byard finished his 4 year starter career at Middle Tennessee State University at the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl with 5 tackles and 1 pass defense. KB finished his time with the Blue Raiders with 318 tackles and 19 interceptions for 377 yards and 4 TDs. He currently holds MTSU’s all-time interception record and led Conference USA in INTs in his final 2 years. Despite having a great career, Byard was not invited to the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. Although he was not invited, KB had a great Pro Day. Here’s how he compared to the other defensive backs that attended the combine:
KB was just the 29th out of Middle Tennessee State to be selected in the NFL Draft. The second highest taken Blue Raider behind Tyrone Calico, who was drafted 60th overall by, coincidentally, the Tennessee Titans in 2003. Calico’s career ended early after just 2 years with the Titans due to a knee injury that would force the Titans to cut him in 2005. Byard, on the other hand, has had an electric start to his NFL career earning numerous honors within first 3 years, including First Team All-Pro(2017), Pro Bowl Selection(2017), and 2018 NFL Top 100(80). He has also finished in the top 10 for interceptions in the league, leading the league in 2017 with 8 and 7th in 2018 with 4. Byard also received a nod for 2nd team All-Pro via Pro Football Focus. On top of this, he has also chalked up a 66-yard Passing TD to Dane Cruikshank against the Texans in 2018.
There have been many comparisons for KB around the world of sports, but I think Byard is going to be a name all to himself. He’s got incredible football IQ, ball-hawking skills that are unmatched, and one of the speedier safeties in the league. As mentioned earlier, Byard was ranked at #80 out of the NFL’s Top 100 players, ranking 5th at Safety behind Earl Thomas, Harrison Smith, Micah Hyde, and Kam Chancellor. Here’s how KB stacks up against those in front of him the past two years.
In my opinion, Kevin Byard is arguably the best Safety in football, and the only thing stopping him from being the unanimous top safety around the league is KB leading his defense to a deep playoff run. Some may call it a bold prediction, but I think it’s well deserved for the young stud who enters the season at the ripe age of 26 years young. Even Byard has some things to say about others not giving him the credit he deserves including the Pro Bowl snub this past season.
Keep proving them wrong young fella. Byard looks to build on an incredible start to his career as the Titans enter their second season with Mike Vrabel at the helm. After falling from the playoff picture in the last game of the season, KB and the Black ‘n Blue Crew look to build off of their Top 10 rank last year and champion the division for the first time since 2008.
Featured Image: Dallas Morning News