Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard returned to his elite form in 2021 and even garnered some consideration for Defensive Player of the Year over the course of the campaign.

Byard notched five interceptions, 13 passes defended, one sack and a pair of defensive touchdowns, one off a pick and one off a fumble recovery.

He also saw a major improvement in his pass coverage after allowing a completion rate against of 57.7 percent and a passer rating allowed of 68.7.

Byard finished with the highest overall Pro Football Focus grade among safeties, and he notched a Pro Bowl appearance an received an All-Pro nod.

In an article making 100 bold predictions for the 2022 campaign, Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr predicted that Byard would deserve to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Orr says “deserve” because he isn’t sure Byard will actually get it thanks to the typical weight high sack numbers carry when it comes to the award. Nevertheless, it’s a nice bit of recognition for the Titans safety.

29. Kevin Byard will deserve the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award
We don’t know what the Titans will look like in 2022. Coach Mike Vrabel will have them competitive no matter what. A big reason will be Byard, the do-everything, playmaking safety who may have been the best player at his position last year. Notice we said “deserve” in the headline. Will voters look past sack totals and give the man his due?

Byard wasn’t the only Titans safety to shine in 2021, as fellow safety Amani Hooker took that next step and finished with the third-highest PFF grade at the position.

The Titans might have a lot of question marks at different positions going into 2022 — especially on the offensive side of the ball — but the safety position isn’t one of them.





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