USA Today’s Doug Farrar, formerly of Sports Illustrated, recently ranked the NFL’s top 11 safeties and Tennessee Titans defensive back Kevin Byard was at the top of his list.
This probably isn’t a big surprise for Titans fans — Byard has become a key cog in Tennessee’s defense during his first three years in the league. But the rest of the country is probably a bit surprised. Titans players usually don’t get this kind of recognition — even if they deserve it. Byard, however, is simply too good to ignore.
Here’s what Farrar had to say about Byard.
Byard brings every possible attribute you want in a deep safety to the field. Not only does he have the lateral quickness and range to cover to either boundary seamlessly, but he also has an impressive ability to read quarterback intentions and receiver routes. This gives him an additional athletic advantage as he closes to the ball—at times, it looks as if he’s running the route for the receiver. Byard’s status as the NFL’s best safety is well-earned.
Farrar also mentioned that Byard allowed a passer rating of only 55.8 last year (he allowed 21 catches for 172 yards on 30 targets).
Byard is entering the final season of his rookie contract in 2019. However, there’s absolutely no way the Titans are going to let the dynamic safety test the free agent waters. That means a lucrative extension is likely in the works for Byard. When that will take place is anyone’s guess. But Byard isn’t letting the contract situation bother him. He told Sports Illustrated earlier this offseason that he understands the NFL is a business and that he tries to keep his mind off the contract stuff.
The Titans know how important Byard is to their defense. He’s undoubtedly going to be in Nashville for a long time.
Featured image via Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports