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AFC East top 25, No. 7: Bills S Jairus Byrd

Posted by Erik Frenz  May 26, 2013 08:00 AM

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Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
Counting down the top 25 players in the AFC East, one player at a time, one day at a time.

Why Jairus Byrd?

What more could you ask for out of a free safety than what Jairus Byrd has given the Bills in his four years with the team?

He is not only the Bills best defensive back, with a team-leading five interceptions in 2012, but he is also the AFC East's best safety -- not just for his sideline-to-sideline range, but his uncanny ability to diagnose plays and get to the right spot in a hurry.

Just ask Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was absolutely robbed by Byrd on this throw to the sideline...

...and then again just a few minutes later (3:00 mark in the video).

Tannehill was hardly the only one who was a victim of Byrd's ball-hawking skills.

According to Pro Football Focus, Byrd allowed a passer rating of just 56.9 on the season. He was targeted 21 times in coverage and allowed 156 yards (9.8 yards per reception) without giving up a single touchdown.

New Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will love Byrd's skill set, as it will allow him to run the exotic blitz packages the Jets were known for while he was the coordinator in New York. If the Bills defense creates more pressure up front, that could lead to even bigger things for Byrd.

Did you know?

Byrd was the first rookie safety to lead the league in interceptions since Vikings safety Orlando Thomas in 1995. Both players had nine picks, and both were selected with the 42nd overall pick of their respective drafts.

Bonus reading

Spotrac estimates Byrd could command a contract in the neighborhood of five years and $45 million when he becomes a free-agent in 2014.

Check back every morning as we reveal one player a day on our way to No. 1 in the top 25.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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