What defensive coordinator has more success with safeties than the legend, Dick Lebeau? He has orchestrated some of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL throughout his coaching career. When a coach with his level of expertise handpicks a prospect, there is a good chance that he will pan out. Dick Lebeau was vocal about Middle Tennessee safety, Kevin Byard. Before the season, we chose him to be our Breakout Candidate of the year.
His rookie campaign was solid, yet unspectacular. With poor cornerback play last season, Byard was left cleaning up broken coverages and holding the last line of defense. The cornerback position has been rehauled since then and two games into this season, he has been very outstanding. He’s great in coverage and active in run support. The former Middle Tennessee standout has already racked up 14 tackles.
Extrapolate those numbers through a 16 game slate, and he would be looking at 112 tackles. Are those tackle numbers sustainable? Maybe not. But, this week against the Jaguars, Byard played all 67 defensive snaps. He was the only player on the defense to do so. The coaching staff has faith in him, and so does the man who drafted him.
“He’s always had a swagger, but he’s more vocal. He’s kind of the field general back there.” Titan’s GM Jon Robinson on Kevin Byard’s progression.
Pair his instincts and his high motor together, add in being on the field for the majority of defensive snaps, and you’re going to see Kevin Byard blow up this year. Anything less than top five safety numbers this season, would be an absolute surprise.