Byrd to miss OTAs

Buffalo's first second-round pick spoke to the BFR about why he'll miss OTAs and minicamp...

Jairus Byrd will not be able to attend the Bills' OTA sessions due to Oregon's final exam schedule.

But he plans on not missing a beat.

"It's going fine," Byrd told "I'm here just working out and getting a lot of installs that they send to me."

Oregon University operates under the quarter system, as opposed to two semesters. Therefore, school runs a little later and Byrd cannot be in Buffalo today. So he stays in tune with the Tampa 2 scheme, the Bills have been sending him installations by mail.

Oregon doesn't start its finals until June 8. They run through June 12. The NFL has a rule working in connection with the NCAA that states, "If final examinations at a player's school conclude after May 16, the player may not participate in any activities other than the three-day minicamp until after the player's final day of examinations."

So don't expect to see Byrd any time soon. He'll also have to miss Buffalo's mandatory minicamp.

"I can't go back until June because of the quarter system," Byrd said. "There's a rule that we can't go back until the graduating class graduates."

A cornerback in college, Byrd will play safety for the Bills. He is expected to compete with Ko Simpson and others for the free safety job. Not being around may be frustrating, but it's still early. Byrd will have all training camp to impress the coaches and this delayed graduation is obviously something the team knew they were getting when they took Byrd so high.

Simpson was mostly nonexistent last season, picking off zero passes in 16 games. In Byrd, the Bills sought a ballhawking presence in deep center. With the Ducks, he had 17 interceptions. No easy feat for a cornerback. At safety, relying on sheer instincts, he could blossom even more. Simpson certainly didn't do himself any favors in January when he was arrested outside of a bar in South Carolina — infamously screaming, "I'm Ko Simpson with the Buffalo Bills! I am worth millions!"

Byrd's entrance is delayed, but don't expect it to hurt his stock at all. Everybody should look sharp in OTAs and minicamp. Without pads and without pressure, even the Erik Flowers' of the world should dazzle.

This is a time for meeting teammates and absorbing the plain X ‘n O's of the playbook. While Byrd won't be present to make friends, he shouldn't fall too far behind in the playbook with the team mailing with installs. Byrd told me he's been on schedule with everything so far and the position change has not been overly daunting. Free safety isn't a brain-busting position to inherit. Byrd's a smart guy and should assimilate just fine.

As far as his standing on the team is concerned, Byrd won't be shoved to special teams because of his absence. Coaches won't make major personnel-changing decisions until training camp. And by then, Byrd will be back.

Stay tuned to the BFR later this week for a feature on Jairus Byrd.

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