Ranking the Most Important on Defense: No. 20

Check out today's version of the ongoing countdown during this month.

No. 20:

Player: Jaydan Bird

Position: Backup weak side linebacker

The rundown: Bird, a 6-foot-1, 230 lb. backer from Conway Springs, Kan., played in 12 games on the special teams unit throughout the 2009 season. He had a pair of tackles last year, one each against Utah State and Tulsa. Besides that, he didn't have much of an impact. But he was efficient in certain circumstances when he did see live game minutes.

Expectations for 2010: Starting weak side linebacker Travis Lewis said Bird has shown positive signs lately and not to "sleep on Jaydan..." With that said, he clearly won't get much action behind Lewis on the weak side, but he is improving at the WILL position, and he's a gritty, competitive athlete, so those are all reasons to believe good things about the progression of Bird and his game.

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