Kevin Byard, S
Projected Statline: 9 INTs, 80 tackles, 21 PBUs
Most likely competition: Justin Simmons
Just like sacks for defensive tackles, interceptions aren’t always the best metric for judging who the best safety in the NFL is season by season. Having said that, it is generally what the voters fall back on and Byard leads the NFL in interceptions by a safety with 5.
It also helps his case that Byard is a known commodity and that he has been one of the best ballhawks in the NFL for five years at this point.
As one of the leaders on a Tennessee Titans defense that looks remarkably better than they did in 2020, he should get a lot of credit for his communication skills and his ability to keep this group of defensive backs together despite injury after injury.
Again, big games in prime time have definitely helped out Byard’s stock because on Monday Night Football he had an interception against Josh Allen and the Bills that set up a touchdown, and on Sunday Night Football he had a pick-six that really made the crowd believe that the Rams were going to be in for a beatdown.
This is a field where there really isn’t much competition right now and the clear leaders should be Simmons and Byard, especially if the two continue to post interceptions at this rate.