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NFL Draft Profile: Akial Byers

Byers’ versatility might be enough to earn himself an opportunity in the NFL.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 South Carolina at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Name: Akial Byers

Position: Defensive Tackle

Height: 6-foot-2 34” (36 percentile)

Weight: 308 pounds (59 percentile)

Arm Length: 34” (77 percentile)

Draft Projection: Priority Free Agent

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 South Carolina at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pro Day Measurables:

40-Yard Dash: 5.66 (0 percentile)

3-Cone Drill: 8.03 (9 percentile)

Vertical Jump: 27” (22 percentile)

Broad Jump: 7’7” (1 percentile)

Player Comparison: Lorenzo Neal (Purdue)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Missouri at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College Statistics:

Games Played: 40

Total Tackles: 78

Tackles for Loss: 8.5

Sacks: 2

College Accolades:

  • 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Invitee


Strengths: Akial Byers’ greatest attribute as a player is his versatility. Throughout his college career he has played just about every gap along the defensive line. He started out as an option at defensive end, spent some time as a 3-4 defensive end and ultimately found a home as a 3-technique. He wins with strength along the interior and ball-carriers feel his presence when he makes a tackle. He has great length for his height.

Weaknesses: Byers finds himself getting washed out of the play too often. He’s a strong player but there are cases of him not using that strength to his advantage. He has a tendency to stand straight up at the snap and loses his leverage as a result. His lack of athleticism is going to be an issue for teams at the next level; the only defensive tackle to run a slower 40 at the NFL Combine than Byers ran at Mizzou’s Pro Day to be drafted in the last 20 years was former Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody. Cody weighed more than 350 pounds, Byers weighed in at less than 310. Unfortunately, it wasn’t only Byers’ 40-time that will give teams some pause. He also took more than eight seconds to run his 3-cone drill, and his broad jump would have been among the 10 worst by any defensive lineman at the NFL Combine in the last 20 years.

Outlook: Byers brings enough versatility and size to the table that he should get an opportunity at the next level, though it will likely come in the form of a camp invite as opposed to a draft selection. He shows flashes on film of a player who uses his strength to push the pocket from the interior both against the run and the pass. His lack of athleticism is going to hold some teams back, even on day three of the draft, and he’ll likely have to prove himself in camp. The hope is he makes it onto a practice squad this season and takes advantage of his opportunity.

What scouts and analysts are saying about Byers: