Scouts Inc. is going around the league to break down a position from every division once a week this offseason (they could run out of positions if the lockout goes too long!) and are tackling the AFC West safeties. With the emergence of Eric Berry last season, it should come as no surprise the Kansas City Chiefs took home the top spot.
The Chiefs are very young at safety. But this position, where they are led by Eric Berry, also is extremely promising. Berry has superb playmaking skills to go along with elite athleticism and versatility. He had some recognition issues in his rookie season, but that isn’t uncommon for young cover men. Berry’s run support is apparent already. Overall, he remains a tremendous second-year prospect and could quickly become one of the best safeties in all of football. Fellow 2010 rookie Kendrick Lewis was a pleasant surprise as well. He logged a lot of snaps and, like Berry, should only improve in his second year. The Chiefs look to be set at this position for years to come. But adding one player — probably a veteran with versatility and special teams skills — seems like a logical move for depth. Jon McGraw has been targeted by opposing quarterbacks throughout his career and could end up playing elsewhere because he is a free agent.
The most incredible thing about watching Berry’s rookie season was that you could almost see the light go on each week. There were some glaring mistakes early on, but by the time the playoffs rolled around he was rarely out of position and managed to keep wrapping up while delivering big time hits.
Call me crazy — I’ve been called worse — but I think Berry is already a top five safety in the league. Bold prediction for a kid that has only played 17 games in the NFL, though not unwarranted if you saw the huge steps he took every week.
Check out ESPN.com (Insider) to see where the rest of teams fall on the chart.