2020 NFL Draft Profile: Hawaii WR Cedric Byrd II
Speed kills, but is that enough to help Byrd contribute at the professional level?
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Will he get a shot to fly in the pros?
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The Hawaii Warriors were one of college football’s most surprising success stories last fall and wide receiver Cedric Byrd was a big reason why.
Nick Rolovich’s run-and-shoot offenses needed to replace the highly productive John Ursua and Byrd answered the bell, finishing 2019 as one of just five Mountain West players with 1,000 receiving yards. Teams knew what was coming and, more often than not, couldn’t stop him, but the NFL is a whole other beast.
Height – 5′ 9″
Weight – 172 pounds
Wingspan – 73 5/8″
Arm Length – 30 1/4″
Hand Size – 8 1/2″
40-Yard Dash (unofficial) – 4.37 seconds
3-Cone Drill (unofficial) – 7.03 seconds
A lot of NFL teams are investing in speed at the skill positions and Byrd has that in spades. While he’s not quite at the Henry Ruggs/John Ross level (few players are), running a sub-4.4 40-yard dash will certainly have turned some heads.
He also saw plenty of work in his assigned role as a slot receiver in Hawaii’s run-and-shoot and proved that he could thrive, leading all Group of 5 pass catchers with 96 catches in 2019. It wasn’t all about working underneath, either, as he also flashed an ability to stretch the field with 14 catches of 30-plus yards in his two seasons with the Warriors.
Furthermore, while it wasn’t one of his primary duties, Byrd does have experience in returning kicks dating back to his high school days, averaging nearly 30 yards on four returns at Hawaii.
Byrd may possess above-average speed, but one thing that NFL coaching staffs won’t be able to teach Byrd is size. Because of this, Byrd’s chances of contributing on an NFL roster will depend on his ability to shore up the finer points of playing in the slot. Matt Waldman, for instance, highlighted hand positioning as a point of emphasis; the writers at NFL Draft Bible, by contrast, noted that if his lower body strength can catch up to that of his upper body, Byrd could create that many more headaches for opposing defenses.
The greatest likelihood is that he’s picked up as a priority undrafted free agent not long after the draft is finished, but it also wouldn’t surprise if he followed in Ursua’s footsteps to become a seventh-round draft pick.