From Crash to Cash: Bolts Draft LSU WR Byrd

WR Demetrius Byrd was in a car accident on Sunday, April 19, that landed him in the ICU. A week later, the San Diego Chargers called his name and made him the last member of their draft class.

Demetrius Byrd was initially listed in critical-but-stable condition after his accident last week, in which a blown tire apparently caused him to crash into a utility pole. He has since been upgraded to good condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Chargers certainly believe that's the case, picking the 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver with their final selection in the 2009 NFL Draft.

WR Demetrius Byrd

San Diego is not worried about Byrd making a quick return to the football field. The Chargers have plenty of depth at wide receiver this season and made the selection with an eye towards 2010, when four of the team's top-six receivers could become unrestricted free agents.

Byrd has good initial quickness and impressive deep speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the NFL Combine. He has good body control and can make catches under duress, two must-have traits in Norv Turner's offense.

Byrd arrived at LSU in 2007 by way of Pearl River Community College. In his two years with the Tigers, he posted 72 catches for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers would have been higher if not for quarterback issues at LSU.

Byrd still must get stronger as a blocker and improve his ability to get yards after the catch, but he had too much upside for the Chargers to overlook in the seventh round.

In San Diego, Byrd will be reunited with former teammate Jacob Hester, as the two played together in 2007. Former first-round pick Buster Davis also played at LSU, although he left the year before Byrd's arrival.

GM A.J. Smith has now drafted a player from LSU in each of the last three drafts.

What are your thoughts on this selection? Talk about it in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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