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Demetrius Byrd may never play in the NFL

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, May 16, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has spoken with all of his team's 2009 draft picks — except one.

    Smith didn't make his usual congratulatory draft-day telephone call to Demetrius Byrd last month because the Louisiana State wide receiver was hospitalized. And even though he was since discharged, Smith still hadn't chatted with Byrd as of Monday night. Smith says he wants to give Byrd more time to recover from head injuries suffered during a pre-draft auto accident.
    Of course, the two ultimately will talk. When they do, the first words that should come from Byrd's mouth?

    Thank you.

    Draft prospects with significant medical red flags are likely to slip or may not even get selected. For every Willis McGahee — a 2003 first-round pick despite a major knee injury that sidelined him all of his rookie season — there are far more examples of banged-up college standouts like Byrd that suffer an ignominious draft-day fate.

    Once projected as an early second-day pick, Byrd slid all the way into the seventh round before being chosen with the No. 224 overall selection. The drop cost Byrd hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it beats not being drafted at all.

    Byrd — who was en route to church when a car crashed into his vehicle — will at least get a signing bonus in the $50,000 range. Even more important for the long term, Byrd also has joined a team that now has a vested interest in his NFL future and rehabilitation.
    "This is a great kid with a good family from everything we have on background," Smith told FOXSports.com. "His life goes up in smoke in an auto accident and his dreams are shattered. I kind of liked the idea that we take this guy." Smith doesn't claim to be the NFL's version of Mother Teresa. There was bargain shopping involved. Byrd was a solid LSU starter in 2008 who flashed NFL tools.

    If he can recover, Smith says the Chargers have landed someone who can become "a terrific player." The alternative was choosing a healthy prospect who could immediately contend for a roster spot but didn't have as much projected upside.
    On a larger scale, Byrd symbolizes the risk/reward draft debate that teams have regarding ailing players or those coming off serious injuries suffered in their final college season. Grading college talent is difficult enough. Trying to evaluate a player's comeback potential and draft value makes the process even tougher.

    Philadelphia took chances in each of the past two drafts when selecting Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuono (2008 fourth round) and Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram (2009 fifth round). Ikegwuono missed all of his rookie season while recovering from a serious knee injury suffered during a pre-draft workout; Ingram didn't play as a senior after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
    Eagles general manager Tom Heckert Jr. believes Ikegwuono will be able to contribute in 2009 after not experiencing any swelling in his knee following a minicamp earlier this month. Heckert, though, said there was plenty of talk inside team headquarters before the Eagles selected a player he had rated as a second-round pick before the injury.

    "You're paying a guy who you know isn't going to play for a whole year," said Heckert, whose team gave Ikegwuono a $400,000 signing bonus as part of a four-year, $2.1 million rookie contract. "You're only hoping the guy can come back. You have to weigh those odds whether it's worth taking a guy in the fourth round when maybe he could fall into the fifth or sixth.
    "We thought he was such a good player that somebody would take him fairly soon. If you can get a starting cornerback in the fourth round, it's well worth the risk."

    Ingram seems less of a gamble. Although not completely healed, he participated in Philadelphia's recent minicamp.
    Ingram said he noticed team physicians were "pulling on my leg a lot more than the other guys" during pre-draft physicals. Heckert said that was intentional. "We have to do due diligence on a guy who hasn't played yet after the injury," Heckert said. "The knee isn't the same as it once was. You then start to worry about longevity. You wouldn't want to use a first- or second-round pick on a guy if you think his career could last four years at most [because of a degenerative condition]. If you use a fourth- or fifth-round pick on a guy you thought was a good player, you don't care. You're giving the guy a four-year contract that will be up by the time you have to make a decision about re-signing them."

    Heckert believes the Eagles are more "forgiving" in their medical diagnosis than other teams that would be quicker to yank a prospect with an injury history from their draft board. "If you played a year on it [in college], that's fine for us," he said.
    That doesn't mean Philadelphia is lax in its pre-draft evaluations. The Eagles meet extensively with their medical staff the week before the draft to review flagged players.

    "It's a royal pain for the trainers and doctors to have to bring files on every single guy, but we really like the way the process works," said Heckert, who began working under Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2001. "We put them on the spot and they tell us what they think. It's good for all of us so we're not sitting in the draft room on the clock saying, 'What do we do?'
    "If the kid passes, great. If not, we put a red dot on his card."

    Playoff teams with deep rosters like Philadelphia and San Diego can take chances because ailing rookies aren't expected to immediately contribute. The same approach may not work for embattled coaches and general managers who need a quick impact from their draft class. For example, Gregg Williams was fired as Buffalo's head coach at the end of the 2003 season before McGahee had taken a single NFL snap at running back.

    Two draft-day gambles in 2006 paid off for Smith when he used first- and second-round picks on cornerback Antonio Cromartie and left tackle Marcus McNeill respectively. Cromartie didn't play as a junior at Florida State in 2005 after tearing his ACL. Smith says McNeill was a first-round talent who slid because of undisclosed medical concerns. Both players have since reached the Pro Bowl.

    "I have been called a lot of things, but Dr. Smith is not one of them," a laughing Smith said. "A lot of guys are banged up anyway before they get to the NFL. If somebody has an injury history but our doctors say he's OK, I have faith in our medical people."
    As the fourth round was underway last month, Smith said he consulted with three key members of the Chargers organization — team president Dean Spanos, assistant general manager Ed McGuire and head coach Norv Turner — about the possibility of ultimately selecting Byrd. In a best-case scenario, Byrd could be practicing in training camp. More likely, Byrd will spend at least part it not all of the 2009 season on the non-football injury list.

    Smith has no problem with that.

    "He's now a San Diego Charger," Smith said.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/9577028/Medical-red-flags-become-NFL-draft-fliers
     
  2. Cheapseats

    Cheapseats Loud, proud Charger fan

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    I won't be losing any sleep over this. From what I have heard his recovery is coming along nicely and even if he doesn't play a down this season...or ever, all we are out is a 7th round pick and a relatively small amount of money (in NFL terms). Can anyone even name our 7th round picks for the last three years?
    (If you can, you should consider getting out more :lol: )
    I'm thinking we will see him on the field in 2010 playing like a man with something to prove.

    Go Chargers!!!
    :flag:
     
  3. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    If he plays he plays
    If he doesnt it costs us, what, league minimum?

    Not a huge deal
     
  4. cool arrow

    cool arrow BoltTalker

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    Just a speed bump.
     
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  5. Charger Dave

    Charger Dave Dead account

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    Johnny, I don't understand why you chose that particular title for your thread... (But it is your thread)..

    I prefer to look forward to Demetrius Byrd's return to the field of play and hope for his eventual success. The Chargers receiving corps is a hard nut to crack regardless of circumstance. Glad the author chose to point out previous successes of Cromartie and McNeill - you just never know how its going to turn out. :icon_toast:
     
  6. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

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    Let's pray for him. He'll recover and do some fine work for the Chargers. Homegrown athletes will try the best.
     
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  7. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    So your post makes you nothing more than a large dip?
     
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  8. SecretAsianMan

    SecretAsianMan Well-Known Member

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    I think we all realized the risk involved when we drafted him.

    However, considering that we got a player that was originally projected to be a second-round pick in the seventh round, I personally think the pick had nothing but upside for us. If he recovers from his injury and works out for the team, then this pick was the bargain of the century. If he doesn't recover and doesn't make the team, then he's paid the league minimum and released, which is really not a huge deal considering seventh-round picks are normally throw-away picks anyway.

    Besides, football aside, there's something to be said about providing a bit of financial security for a kid that may have had his future ruined because of a bad accident.
     
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  9. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    I got it from here... :tup:


    FOX SPORTS EXCLUSIVES


    [​IMG] Worth the risk?
    Demetrius Byrd may never play in the NFL after a pre-draft car crash. So why was he taken? Let's debate a risk/reward tactic. Peter Schrager

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl
     
  10. cool arrow

    cool arrow BoltTalker

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    Hmmm....if you say so. :icon_huh:

    My speed bump comment was not aimed at his unfortunate accident. Whether he plays football or not, I wish him and all those involved a full recovery. :tup:

    My comment referenced the loss of a pick in the 7th round. No big loss as far as a pick is concerned. Do I need to give you a hug? :tdown:

    :icon_tease:
     
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  11. PhilipRivers#1

    PhilipRivers#1 BoltTalker

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    I am hopeful that he will and we will have a huge steal ! :icon_banana::abq2::icon_toast:
     
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  12. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    AFC West mailbag

    July 5, 2009 12:00 PM
    Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

    Zac Lopez from Pasadena, CA

    wants to know if there is an update on San Diego seventh-round pick Demetrius Byrd. The receiver was in an auto accident shortly before the draft.

    BW: Byrd is being vey protected in his rehabilitation from injuries sustained in an April car accident. Many people around him are being quiet and they want him to get better outside of the spotlight of the media. That is understandable. I do know that Byrd is up and walking and working hard to get better. But there is no timeline. A full recovery expected. If I had to make a guess, I think Byrd will start training camp and the regular season on the physically unable to perform list. He could end up being out all year. Still, the Chargers are excited about Byrd's potential. Before his accident, which was six days before the draft, he was expected to be a third-round pick. The Chargers took him in the seventh round. Byrd wasn't taken as a novelty or as a favor. The Chargers like him and think he will be able to help down the road.
     
  13. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    He's not in any danger of dying from injuries, now its just a matter of time if he can play

    In the end he's a 7th rounder, there was not much of a chance he'd make the team, so whatever happens, happens
     
  14. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

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    Corey Clark and Jimmy Martin come to mind. :yes:
     
  15. bigcarson50

    bigcarson50 Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't Shane Olivea a 7th?
     
  16. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    So was Ryon Bingham and Andrew Pinnock and Scott Mrzucowski
     
  17. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the Bolts draft Mark Seay?


    knowing he had a bullet lodged in his thigh
     
  18. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Let the dude heal, then get all over his ***.
     

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