The new series covering backyard baller Damiere Byrd kicks off here with some observations from the first round of Organized Team Activities. The first two days of OTAs were closed to the media, so the happenings are somewhat unknown. However, the third and final day was open to reporters, and several of the lineups and performances were interesting to say the least. There are many unknown players that peak my interest during these practices, but probably none more so than the aforementioned UDFA pickup Damiere Byrd.
Carrying momentum off of his impressive rookie minicamp, Byrd was given plenty of opportunities with Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess out due to various reasons. Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review said Byrd shined during individual drills but kind of tapered off after that. This is somewhat concerning, considering a few receivers ahead of him in Corey Brown and Stephen Hill really shined. I would have liked to hear that Byrd blew it out of the water, but he has plenty more opportunities to prove himself. After all it is just OTAs, and results here should be taken with a grain of salt.
Black and Blue Review took some great video of some of the receiver drills. In the video below the guys catching the passes are: Ted Ginn #19, Stephen Hill #87, Corey Brown #16, Jarrett Boykin #15, and Damiere Byrd #18. Everyone looks decent in this drill, the only mishap is Corey Brown slipping on a route, due possibly to a collision with a bullet shot out of an invisible sniper, have to love Cam Newton. In the drill, Byrd looks fine with a couple fine catches, but we won’t truly know how good he is until the pads are on in training camp, preseason games, and ultimately regular season.
Though Byrd is fighting an uphill battle to earn roster spot, his performance so far is worth more than the “Practice Squad” label so many fans already place on him. He has plenty more opportunities to either prove himself or doom himself, so is the life of an undrafted free agent. Our next chance to see Byrd in action will be Tuesday, June 2; coincidentally, that is the same day we can hear him on the C3 podcast at 10 PM Eastern Standard time. Make sure to tune in to what should be another great interview, and fun show. The current battle at wide receiver is certainly an entertaining one, and will be very hard for the coaching staff to cut down. I hope the South Carolina Speedster can carve out his own niche and blow the top off defenses for years to come. Tune in to future articles to watch this dream possibly become a reality, and give Damiere Byrd a follow on twitter @LookIn_Da_Miere.
By Grant Hughes
Follow Grant on Twitter @KenjonVander