Pros: Shows potential in man coverage with nice burst, quickness, and speed. Does a nice job keeping things in front of him. Capable in run support and is a capable tackler with some pop. Has good ball skills and plays the ball well in the air. Effective punt returner due to speed and acceleration.
Cons: Doesn't have great hips despite athleticism. Gives up too much cushion at times. Needs to show better awareness in man and zone coverage and is caught out of position too much. Will take some poor angles at times in run support.
Overview: Byrd has the body and athleticism to be a top corner in both man and zone, but needs to be more consistent. It seems he relies too much on his athleticism, and needs to buckle down. He has the potential to also project to play safety. Had a very productive career as a three-year starter with 17 career picks and 53 passes defended. He was a pair of solid corners for Oregon, with Walter Thurmond being the other. He struggled covering Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State) in their bowl game, while Thurmond was much more effective. A groin injury limited him in off- season workouts, thus why the slow 40 time.
NFL Forecast: If Byrd gets coached up some and lives up to his athletic potential, he could be one of the top corners in the league. But right now, he's a bit too raw for my tastes, and I think it may take him some time to reach his potential. He's got the size to play free safety, although he'll need to be more consistent in run support and show better awareness in coverage to stick there. But at least if his progress is too slow at corner initially, that would be a nice fallback. If Byrd doesn't meet his expectations, he should at least be a solid nickel corner or dime safety.
ATL Forecast: Byrd would be an upside pick for the Falcons. He could play in the scheme, but lacks the immediate impact ability that some other corners of comparable ability have. But if properly coached, he could be starting within two years and be the guy that routinely goes up against Steve Smith and Marques Colston, and has the potential to be able to contain those caliber of receivers.
Value: Byrd has ﬁrst round potential but is more in line with a late second round pick because of inconsistency.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
MAN COVERAGE: 3.0
ZONE COVERAGE: 3.0
BALL SKILLS: 3.0
Scouting Reports of cornerbacks in the 2009 NFL draft.
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