This is part of a series of scouting reports on the undrafted free agents the Steelers signed following the 2023 NFL Draft. We continue to look at the UDFAs with San Diego State WR/RET Jordan Byrd.
#15 Jordan Byrd/WR-RET San Diego State – 5071, 166 lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Jordan Byrd||5071, 166||8 3/4||29||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Dynamic and productive return man with nose for the end zone
— Locates ball and gets square/stable under punts with no late or wasted movement
— Shows burst on tape and ability to win the edge
— Has enough long speed to defeat angles and outrun coverage team
— Plays with good effort, fight, and energy as a runner
— Able to create when the hole isn’t there
— Effective on outside zone concepts
— Catches the ball well when it’s within his frame
— Versatile and wore different hats for his team
— Small size can make him hard to find for defenders
— Small with poor testing for size (3.56 RAS)
— Tries to bounce too many runs and moves laterally too often
— Shows patience behind blocks on gap schemes but takes too long to make cut
— Goes down easy on contact, doesn’t run through any tackles
— Not productive as a runner with some ugly stat lines
— Lacks defined offensive role, limited experience in the route tree to be a WR
— Has difficulty adjusting to throws outside his frame
— Gives effort in pass protection but routinely run over and liability as a blocker
— Doesn’t show one-cut burst you’d expect from a runner of his profile
— 23 years old
— 21 career starts at RB, full-time returner throughout college career
— Career: 275 carries for 1353 yards (4.9 YPC) 12 TDs, 47 receptions for 219 yards, 1 TD
— 81 career KR with 24.9 average and 3 TDs, 67 career PR with 6.6 average and 1 TD
— Had a KR touchdown each of his final three seasons
— Attempted one career pass, incomplete
— Three-time all-conference return man (twice for kicks, once for punts)
— Two-star recruit from Albuquerque, New Mexico, chose SDSU over Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas Tech among others
— Played QB, WR, and RB in high school, three-time team MVP
— Won four-straight 100-meter state titles, reported best time was 10.32
— Hopes to own a jewelry store someday
— Reportedly ran a 4.46 in 2017 HS event that invited fastest players from around the country, included Dax Hill, Anthony Schwartz, and Rondale Moore
A running back and returner at San Diego State, the Steelers announced Byrd as a wide receiver/returner so I’ll categorize him the same here. But it’s worth nothing he didn’t catch the ball much in college. What he did do was return kicks and punts, and he was one of the best in the nation at it. Here’s a cut-up of all his return TDs, which showcase his decisiveness and speed to defeat angles and outrun defenders. I don’t think he’s a 4.3-type of guy but his tape looked a tick faster than a 4.52 time.
You see that burst to the edge as a runner and Byrd can get to the corner on outside zone schemes as well.
As you’d expect, his small size is not conducive to breaking tackles and he goes down on contact pretty easily. There’s a bit of fight in his legs but when a guy 100+ pounds heavier tackles you, it’s just physics at that point.
Byrd tried to bounce runs too often. His speed at that lower level sometimes allowed him to get away with it but it’s not going to translate nearly as easily at the next level. He’s also a liability in pass protection. Byrd shows heart and effort — he doesn’t back down from the challenge — but he was routinely steamrolled and will risk getting his QB hit and hurt. He’s really just called a WR so the team wasn’t doing the same as with former RB/WR Dri Archer, who was pulled out of backs on ‘backers drills due to his lack of size.
Byrd may split time with the RBs and WRs in camp. As a receiver, he hasn’t run much of a route tree. Occasionally, he was split out or aligned over slot but he’s not a true slot receiver and will be raw there.
Byrd was brought in for what he can do in the return game. He can return kicks and punts at a productive level and there’s an opening for that in Pittsburgh right now. Still, the value of that role, especially KR, has diminished in recent years due to NFL rule changes, and his path to the make the 53 will be tough without a couple of explosive plays. I don’t think he’s as fast or electric as Stefan Logan was though there’s a pretty direct comparison to make there. Byrd’s path to sticking will be a challenge.
Depot Draft Grade: 5.5 – Camp Invite/Tryout
Games Watched: at Boise State (2022), vs Middle Tennessee State (2022), vs Toledo (2022), Variety Of Carries, Return Cut-Up