The second installment of Byrd Watching picks up where we left off after the first week of organized team activities. Since then, there has been several intriguing story lines and promising sample sizes from young players. For the most part, OTAs are closed to the media, and most of what takes place is never heard of by anyone outside of the locker room. When reporters are allowed on the practice field, their write ups are usually short, and only contain the most noteworthy plays.
It just so happens that Damiere Byrd found himself listed as one of the biggest performers of OTA session #2. On Thursday, June 4, Damiere Byrd ended the practice beating fellow UDFA Dean Marlowe for a long reception from Derek Anderson. Then on the following Monday, Byrd caught another deep ball down the right side to end practice, this time from Joe Webb. There seems to be a reoccurring theme here, Byrd catches deep passes, which almost exclusively signal an end to practice. Take the timing of his catches at face value, even though this goes to show how much stamina he possesses with his track background. We can garner some key information off the length of his catches, in that he has speed to burn.
No one questions the God-given quickness he owns, nor his ability to blow past anyone he matches up against. However, I do question his ability to do plenty of other things a NFL wide receiver is asked to do. I wonder if he knows how to execute the short and intermediate routes, because a guy who can only run 50 yards in a straight line won’t make the final roster. I am also concerned about his slender frame, and it’s ability to take a big hit and keep on running.
Though the previous statements seem void of optimism, there are still plenty of things to be enthusiastic about. Byrd has world class speed that cannot be taught, no matter how much one practices. His body type looks like one that can hold 10-15 more pounds of much needed muscle. His route running and drop concerns are definitely correctible problems as well. As it stands right now, Damiere Byrd is still on the outside looking in for a spot on the final roster, but if he maintains his current display of big plays, he will be pretty hard to spurn come final roster cuts. His next opportunity to prove himself comes June 16-19 with the arrival of minicamp. Make sure to keep updated with the happenings of not only Damiere Byrd, but also the team as a whole. Also check back in here at Cat Chronicles for the biggest story lines and third installment of Byrd Watching.
By Grant Hughes
Follow Grant on Twitter @KenjonVander