The reports of draft prospects coming to visit the Green Bay Packers continue to roll in this week, as Ted Thompson and company continue to look at players who are likely to be late-round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft or undrafted signees. On Wednesday, news broke that a pair of BYU players, defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and wide receiver Mitch Mathews, will be coming to Green Bay.
Today, we find a report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about a player in the secondary who will be in Green Bay tomorrow:
#Packers hosting Middle Tennessee St. safety Kevin Byard on official draft visit Friday, source said. https://t.co/94hjdQpGYf— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) April 7, 2016
The Packers may have a bit of a need at safety, at least for depth purposes. Starters Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett are entrenched, as is backup defensive back Micah Hyde (who can play both slot corner and free safety), but Chris Banjo is the only other safety on the roster.
Enter Byard, a first-team All-Conference USA player as a senor in 2015. He recorded a total of 19 interceptions in his career for the Blue Raiders, and was a starter all four years in fact, he never picked off fewer than four passes in any of those seasons.
Byard was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, so his Pro Day workout on March 31st was important for his draft stock. He impressed there, running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and recording a 38-inch vertical jump. He was invited to this year's Senior Bowl, however, where he made at least one impressive interception in practice.
Opinions are mixed as to whether he fits better as a strong or free safety in the NFL. He certainly possesses a frame that would suggest that he should play closer to the line of scrimmage (5'11", 216 pounds), but NFL.com's Lance Zierlein says that "he lacks the consistent physicality needed and he does his best work as a deep safety."
For now, Byard is projected by NFL Draft Scout to be selected in the 5th or 6th round.