He might not be a classic example of a player in line for a 49ers roster move, but San Francisco took a step anyway, adding offensive lineman Henry Byrd to their practice squad.
That is according to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson of KPRC in Houston. Wilson reported that the 49ers held a workout recently that included Byrd and several other linemen, including Isaac Alarcon, Sebastian Gutierrez, Bobby Hart and former first-round pick of the Bengals, Cedric Ogbuehi. Byrd impressed enough to warrant a 49ers roster move to the practice squad.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 6, 2023
Byrd played at Princeton, and was first-team All-Ivy League for the last two seasons. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by Denver after the NFL draft at the end of April, and spent the summer in training camp with the Broncos. He was waived at the end of camp, though, and signed with the Vikings practice squad at the end of August.
The Vikings cut ties with him last week, when they signed another offensive lineman, Coy Cronk.
Henry Byrd Learned to Tap Dance
Byrd is 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, and though he was a star at tackle in college, he has moved to guard in the NFL. He will certainly make an interesting addition to the 49ers roster, because he has a unique approach to footwork: He learned to tap dance.
It started in high school, when he needed an arts class to fulfill his requirements. He wound up enjoying learning the footwork, and kept taking classes.
Eventually, he told Princeton’s website, “It was just me and four of the competitive dancers at my school in the big concert doing a routine to ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’ It was a lot of fun, I really loved doing it.”
This cannot be confirmed, but we’re going to wager that Byrd is the only offensive lineman on the 49ers roster, 53-man or practice squad, with a tap-dance background.
“I feel like it’s got a decent crossover for football,” Byrd told the site. “A lot of it is cross training with lacrosse and basketball and playing a million sports, but I think a big part of it is learning that control and learning that timing through tap dancing. It really helped me.”
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Now, it is a longshot that Henry Byrd will get a chance to help the 49ers roster this season, but he is an intriguing prospect, and the 49ers do like to think outside the box when looking for players.
Only last week, the 49ers lost Leroy Watson, a practice squad offensive lineman, to the Cleveland Browns. Watson was a bit of an experiment for San Francisco, because he played tight end in college and was being converted into a tackle by the 49ers. Watson remains on the Browns’ 53-man roster.
If there is a spot on the 49ers roster for a young player to have an opportunity to help, it is on the interior of the offensive line. The 49ers have one of the best left tackles in the NFL in Trent Williams, and right tackle Colton McKivitz—a question mark heading into the season—has been adequate. But guards Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford have been subpar. At Pro Football Focus, Banks ranks as the 70th-rated guard in the NFL (out of 80), and Burford is 74th.
Byrd said after he signed with Denver that he wants to show he could play anywhere on the line. But the 49ers roster needs guards, so it is likely that’s where he would fit.
“Position wise, I’m going to start off at guard there,” Byrd told Town Topics in Princeton. “I played tackle in college obviously. It was a big thing for me that they recognized my versatility. … I feel like my biggest selling point is my versatility with all that.”