Why Jairus Byrd Is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Buffalo

Thomas CasteloneContributor IJune 21, 2009

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 20: Jarius Byrd #32 of the Oregon Ducks walks on the field during the game against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on October 20, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Huskies 55-34. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Bills have struggled to take the ball away from opponents the past couple of years.

How do you fix the problem?

Draft one of the Pac 10's biggest ballhawks over the last three seasons, that's how.

The Bills selected Oregon CB Jairus Byrd in the second round and announced right away that they would be moving him over to safety, a position Buffalo has been searching to find playmakers at for some time.

If Byrd plays for the Bills the same way he played in college, the Bills search for a playmaking safety is over.

Byrd ranks second all-time in Oregon history with 17 career interceptions. A majority of his picks came at crucial points in games and swung momentum to the Ducks' side.

These are the kind of game-changing plays the Bills were sorely missing from their secondary a year ago.

Last season the Bills starting safeties and top four corners combined for a measly six interceptions. By not turning the ball over, that kept the defense on the field and wore the unit down throughout the game and as the season went on.

It's imperative that the Bills start creating more turnovers and that's the main reason Byrd now calls Orchard Park home.

Besides his knack for always being around the ball and making big plays, Byrd possesses another quality the Bills look for in a player: versatility.

The Bills will initially try Byrd at free safety but much like they have with Donte Whitner, you could see Buffalo line him up at strong safety, nickel corner and even boundary corner.

When a team selects a player like Byrd, it's almost like they are getting four players in one.

In this day of the salary caps and trying to fit 53 guys on a roster, players with the versatility of Byrd and Whitner give teams a lot of bang for their buck.

I'm not going to compare Byrd to a potential Hall of Famer like Ed Reed. The guy hasn't even played a down in the NFL yet. In college though, Byrd was that kind of player.

Whenever the Ducks needed a big play or whenever they needed a player to step up and change momentum, Byrd was the guy who always seemed to find a way to make a play.

If he can come up with a couple of big plays during his rookie season, the Bills will have gotten their money's worth.

It's just another day at the office for Jairus Byrd.


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