Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Jairus Byrd
Jairus Byrd (CB)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 207
College: Oregon
Conference: Pac-12
Hometown: Clayton, MO
High School: Clayton
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Buffalo Bills
Round: 2
Pick (Overall): 10 (42)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The former Duck is a natural ballhawk with outstanding coverage skills. He finished his collegiate career with 17 interceptions, and his penchant for producing game-changing turnovers will improve the Bills' secondary.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

Byrd is just the seventh Oregon player since 1997 to leave early for the National Football League. However, he has a good mentor and role model to help him adjust to life as a professional football player in his father, Gill Byrd. Gill was a 1983 first-round draft pick out of San Jose State who was a two-time Pro Bowl selection while playing cornerback for the San Diego Chargers (1983-92).


His father then went on to join the coaching ranks, serving as the secondary coach for the St. Louis Rams (2003-05) before joining the Chicago Bears staff as a defensive quality control coach in 2006. Jairus can also listen to advice from his older brother, Gill Jr., who was a defensive back at New Mexico State (2004-06).


Besides those strong bloodlines, the younger Byrd made a nice reputation for himself in just three seasons playing for the Ducks. An outstanding coverage cornerback with the soft, natural hands his father displayed during his playing days, Jairus ranks fourth in school history with 53 pass deflections, including 22 as a sophomore, the second-highest season total in Oregon annals. He also placed second all-time in Ducks lore with 17 interceptions.


At Clayton High School, to merely hint that the Missouri 4A Offensive Player of the Year played a large role in leading the Greyhounds to the 2004 state championship would be a gross understatement. He willed the school to a 13-1 ledger as a quarterback, safety, wide receiver and on special teams to aid the march to the Suburban East Conference title.


Byrd ranked fourth in the state in scoring (158 points), as he rushed for 1,480 yards (seventh in the state) while averaging 8.76 yards per carry and scoring 26 touchdowns his senior season. In addition, he passed for another 1,038 yards (65-128) and 13 scores.


On defense, Byrd was afforded first-team All-State accolades as his team's second-leading tackler, posting 71 stops (60 solos) along with seven interceptions (fifth in the state), three sacks and two fumble recoveries. He completed his "total package" with six catches for 125 yards (20.8 avg), 10 kickoff returns (30.1 avg), 15 returned punts (13.3 avg), in addition to punting the football 18 times for a 37.6-yard clip.


Byrd spent the 2005 season honing his defensive skills on Oregon's scout team. He was named to the program's Lou Casanova Award (top newcomer) and selected Pac-10 Conference co-Freshman Player of the Year in 2006, starting 11 games at left cornerback. The Freshman All-American adding All-Pac 10 honorable mention, as he ranked sixth on the team with 56 tackles (40 solos). He paced the Ducks with five pass thefts and broke up 12 other throws.


As a sophomore, Byrd was again selected All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention. The left cornerback delivered 64 tackles (43 solos), along with four stops for loss. His 22 pass deflections rank second on the school single-season record list. He led the league and ranked ninth in the nation with seven interceptions, the sixth highest total in school history. His total of 29 passes defended ranked third in the NCAA ranks. He also filled in at times as a punt returner, averaging 9.0 yards on seven chances.


Byrd elevated his game in 2008. The All-Pac 10 Conference first-team choice recorded a career-high 83 tackles (60 solos). He ranked third in the league with five interceptions and with his punt return average of 12.31 yards, as he had 26 attempts that included one return for a touchdown. He led the team with 19 pass breakups, finishing second in the Pac-10 and third in the nation with 26 total passes defended.


High School

Attended Clayton (Mo.) High School, playing football for head coach Mike Musick...Named the Missouri 4A Offensive Player of the Year...Played a large role in leading the Greyhounds to the 2004 state championship, as the team compiled a 13-1 record...Competed as a quarterback, safety, wide receiver and on special teams to aid the march to the Suburban East Conference title...Ranked fourth in the state in scoring (158 points), as he rushed for 1,480 yards (seventh in the state) while averaging 8.76 yards per carry and scoring 26 touchdowns his senior season...In addition, he passed for another 1,038 yards (65-128) and 13 scores...On defense, Byrd was afforded first-team All-State honors as his team's second-leading tackler, posting 71 stops (60 solos), seven interceptions (fifth in the state), three sacks and two fumble recoveries...Came up with six catches for 125 yards (20.8 avg), 10 kickoff returns (30.1 avg), 15 returned punts (13.3 avg), in addition to punting the football 18 times for a 37.6-yard clip.


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Analysis

Positives: Well-built athlete. ... Good initial jam at the line of scrimmage. ... Loose hips to turn and run with the receiver. ... Can shadow the receiver due to very good lateral quickness and the ability to plant and go out of his cuts. ... Late explosive burst to close on the ball. ... Gets his hands on a lot of passes. ... Natural playmaker with soft hands for the interception. ... Times leaps well and can snatch the ball out of the air. ... Good body control to make the catch outside of his frame. ... Natural with the ball in his hands. ... Good feel for the return. ... Good vision to set up blocks. ... Good agility and has a quick burst to accelerate. ... Reliable open-field tackler. ... Breaks down in space well and wraps his arms securely. ... Willing to come up in run support. ... Good bloodlines. ... Father, Gill Byrd, was a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback with San Diego and recently served as Chicago Bears' DB coach.


Negatives: More quick than he is fast. ... May lack the straight-line speed for a traditional man-to-man scheme. ... Can be grabby in coverage, likely to lead to pass interference penalties in the NFL. ... Reliable open-field tackler, but isn't an intimidating hitter. ... Assisted by an aggressive pass rush and a veteran secondary at Oregon.


Injury Report

2009: Suffered a right groin strain at the NFL Combine and could not participate in pro day activities (3/12).


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