1. Kevin Byard, S (3rd round, 2016)
2016: 51 tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 sack, 4 PBUs
2017: 87 tackles, 3 TFLs, 8 INTs, 16 PBUs
2018: 90 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks, 4 INTs, 8 PBUs
Since he has entered the NFL only two players have more interceptions than Kevin Byard, and since 2017 he leads every player in the NFL with 12 INTs.
The Tennessee Titans were lucky to land Byard because he lasted until the third round of the draft, due in large part to a combine snub for no apparent reason. GM Jon Robinson knew the coaching staff at MTSU who stood on the table for Byard, and after looking at his production and his athletic numbers it was just a matter of if he would be there when the Titans selected in the third round.
While he isn’t technically from Tennessee, he might as well be given his dominant career at MTSU and the fact that he could walk to the Nissan Stadium from his house (which he did right after he was drafted).
He has quickly become fan favorite, and why wouldn’t he? He came in as an unknown across the NFL landscape and does everything with the perfect combination of humility and confidence.
He is humble enough to know that sometimes he is going to have to do the dirty work and stick his nose in the fan so that someone else can make a play. However, he is confident enough to be the emotional leader on the team and figure out ways to pick the team up when they are down.
Rarely can a non-QB really turn the tide of a game without scoring a TD that they created out of nothing, but Byard is rare. Against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, the Titans were a few yards away from being down 14-0 on the road.
Instead, Byard jumped a route in the endzone and got the ball back for the offense. After the play, he ran to the star and pumped up the Titans fans in attendance and the team along with them.
After that play it was a completely different game and the Titans won easily in a crucial game.
Pick whatever category you want to look at, Byard is among the best in the league on and off the field. It feels like only a matter of time before the Tennessee Titans make him the highest paid safety in the NFL and he deserves every penny.