Titans: Kevin Byard snub in ESPN’s top 100 bashed by its own experts
A grand total of ZERO Tennessee Titans made ESPN’s top 100 NFL players list, and its glaring omission of safety Kevin Byard was called “ridiculous” and “egregious” by two of ESPN’s own experts.
This isn’t our first rodeo seeing Tennessee Titans players getting snubbed from a list, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise anymore when a player like safety Kevin Byard doesn’t make the cut.
ESPN put out a list ranking the top 100 players in the NFL this season, and not a single Titans player was on there. Perhaps the most glaring omission was that of Byard, who is arguably the best safety in the NFL.
Byard was graded as the fourth-best safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus last season, and he owns the same rank according to PFF going into 2019. However, even that rank doesn’t do him justice.
Anyway, here’s how ESPN put together the list.
"We asked a panel of more than 40 ESPN NFL experts to rate players based on how good they will be in the 2019 season in comparison to their peers. Emphasis was entirely on predicting potential greatness for the upcoming season, rather than past performance or positional value. From those ratings, we were able to rank the best of the best."
Thankfully, a few people at ESPN have some sense to call it like it is. NFL analyst Matt Bowen says the snub of Byard is “ridiculous” in his reaction to the list.
"Byard isn’t a top-100 player? Ridiculous. This is the guy you want to coach in the secondary. He’s smart, he’s tough and he can find the rock, posting a league-high 12 picks over the past two seasons. He hits in the run game, too. The production and film match up here, as does the overall skill set. He can play."
ESPN’s NFL writer, Mike Clay, also thought Byard was the biggest snub on the list. He called it “egregious”.
"Byard is arguably a top-20 player, so his exclusion here is nothing short of egregious. The 26-year-old has racked up 177 tackles and 12 interceptions while dominating both as a run defender and in coverage over the past two seasons. In fact, Byard and Darius Slay (No. 100 on the list) are the only two NFL players with at least 100 tackles and 10 interceptions over the past two seasons."
We couldn’t agree more, and both words used to describe the snub are perfect.
As Bowen and Clay both point out in their respective write-ups, Kevin Byard leads the NFL in interceptions over the past two seasons and is one of the most well-rounded safeties in the league, to say the least.
Byard was recently signed to the richest safety contract in NFL history, surpassing the contracts of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu and the Washington Redskins’ Landon Collins — and deservedly so, he’s better than both of those players.
Somehow Mathieu (No. 86) made ESPN’s list, as did four other safeties.
When NFL Network released a top 100 list based on votes by the players themselves, three Titans made the list. Running back Derrick Henry (No. 99), defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (No. 92), and left tackle Taylor Lewan (No. 77) all made the cut.
None of those players appeared on ESPN’s list, though.
Byard getting snubbed on the first list might have been even worse than the ESPN one because the voting was done by the actual players, and you’d think they’d be more informed than to not include the Mayor of Murfreesboro.
Unfortunately that was not the case, and now Byard has been overlooked once again, this time along with his teammates.
The problem for both of these lists is that they instantly lose credibility once an elite talent like Kevin Byard is excluded. Apparently the people putting these lists together, whether it be the players or the “experts,” need to do more homework before putting their two cents in.