He may have only had 1 reception for 18 yards in his final 2016 preseason game, but Damiere Byrd looks a lock for Carolina Panthers final 53-man roster. Carolina showed tonight that they want Byrd on this team for his special team's capability just as much as his threat as a speed receiver.
Damiere Byrd looks dangerous every time he fields a punt. Just returned one 24 yards to give offense great field position.— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) September 2, 2016
The 5'9 speedster fielded every punt in Carolina's final preseason game. On four punt returns, he averaged 14 yds. He made the first defender missed and looked to turn it up field. He showed off that crazy speed, and had it not been because of that proverbial last man, Byrd would out run the world on the way to the end zone.
Byrd showed up for this year's training camp and preseason. He's demonstrated that he can be a deep threat and has the ability to return punts in the event Carolina needed a substitute for Tedd Ginn. Byrd did muff a punt in the first preseason game, but he's been steady since.
My certainty that Byrd will make this roster, however, is not just based on his performance. I probably believe he would make based on his performance alone, but what has me convinced this the opportunities Carolina invested in Byrd throughout the is preseason. Rivera and Gettleman clearly want to know what they have in the young speedster.
Carolina has worked to integrate Byrd into the offense each week. What's more telling, however, is that he's the only player outside of Ginn in Game 3 who has fielded a punt for the Panthers this preseason.
Byrd has really been the talk of training camp. Every practice you're hearing about Byrd making a nice catch behind a defender. His versatility, as what looks like the potential for a deadly punt returner, looks to have secured the undrafted free agent with 4.28 speed a spot on the Panthers 53-man final roster.
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles