Tennessee Titans awards: Most improved defensive player


The Tennessee Titans have a defensive superstar growing up in front of our eyes.

The Tennessee Titans have had their fair share of issues with the defense this year.

However, you have to give credit where it is due, Dick LeBeau and these Titans have held opposing offenses without a touchdown for 7 straight quarters (if you include OT).

I know it is just the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts, but there were times during the first few weeks where I didn’t think Tennessee would even be able to hold those offenses in check.

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However, the Titans now have shown that they can get off the field when they need to and they look like a better team.

Guys like Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo were good last year and (while they may be regressing slightly) they are doing well now.

Jayon Brown and Adoree Jackson have both looked like they will be impact players in the near future.

One player on this team looks like they have taken the next step into stardom. That of course, is Kevin Byard.

Kevin Byard, FS (CB/LB/EDGE/etc.)

The second year man out of MTSU was already headed down this path before the Cleveland Browns game where he managed 3 interceptions. It is his sticky coverage and impressive ability in the run game that make him a star.

Fans of his always knew the interceptions would come in time, I mean you don’t get 19 in college by getting lucky. It was the fact that he is one of the best downhill tacklers on this team that really drew praise last year.

Without getting a single interception in his rookie year, fans all knew that he was going to be an impact player on this team. It was a matter of when, not if.

The great Luke Worsham said it yesterday when discussing Byard:

“Close observers have been expecting Byard to break out for a while now, but nobody could have expected it to come with three interceptions in one game. Still, a dominating performance like this from Byard was inevitable. It was the culmination of all of his abilities in one game.”

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Byard has shown that he can be an impact player from the safety position, which is a rare thing in league where defensive linemen get most of the credit for being “star” players.

The future is bright for Kevin Byard, but the here and now isn’t so bad either. He is leading the league in interceptions with four. That number is as many or more than 12 teams in the NFL.