Southern California Senior
40: 5.04 (Campus)
PROS: Shows some pop off the snap as a run blocker and will flash drive-blocking capability. Gets into his stance fairly quickly and plays with decent base in pass protection. Can pull and block on the second level to get the seal. Shows nice ability to cut linebacker. Finishes his blocks and plays with mean streak.
CONS: Lacks strength and can get bull-rushed. Has short arms, causing him to overextend and lunge. Doesn't consistently deliver stronger punch. Needs to improve footwork and balance in pass protection. Needs to get take better angles and isn't always able to get position because he doesn't play with great pop. Will miss some assignments when blocking on the second level, and is not as effective a cut blocker at the line of scrimmage.
OVERVIEW: He started for three years at left guard for the Trojans, but projects better as a center on the next level. Got a few starts at center during his USC career. Missed first two years due to a hip injury and back sprain and was given extra year of eligibility this past season.
NFL FORECAST: He fits best in a zone-blocking scheme at the pivot. The type of player that Alex Gibbs likes in. In that scheme he'll be asked to block on the second level and has potential to develop as a cut blocker. He's a bit too small to play guard at the NFL level and be successful. Could be a decent stopgap starter, but not a long-term option. But if he takes well to center, then he'll be a valuable reserve able to play multiple positions. I think he'll need some time to learn and develop as a reserve center before he can start. And I don't think when he does, he'll be great there, but can be solid. I would compare him to a guy like Matt Lehr minus the steroids in terms of his NFL potential. He'll probably spend more years in his career as a backup than as a starter.
ATL FORECAST: He can offer immediately value as a reserve guard and center, although I'm not sure he's good enough there to really beat out any of the current options on the roster. But his value is developmental as a center down the road. Is a more physical player than McClure, but I wouldn't say he's likely to be a significant upgrade over him unless he can prove he's as smart as McClure. Something I would not predict. He's a decent option to replace McClure, but not the ideal fit.
VALUE: Byers is a nice late round pick for a team looking for a developmental center. I'd take him in the sixth or seventh.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.