Don’t look now, but the harshest critic of Todd Haley and Scott Pioli is not being critical of the Chiefs first round draft choice. That’s right, The Star’s Jason Whitlock is on board with the Eric Berry kicking off in Kansas City.
In the moments after the Chiefs made the Tennessee safety the No. 5 pick in Thursday’s draft, I read Berry’s full resume, and upon completion I felt stupid for championing Dez Bryant as my favorite player in this draft.
Oh, I still think Bryant is going to be a great player.
But Eric Berry might be the perfect football player.
Like his dad, he started for three years at Tennessee and captained the Volunteers. Coming out of high school, Berry was ranked the No. 1 defensive back prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com. He graduated high school with a 3.75 grade-point average and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was an immediate starter at Tennessee and started every game he played there. In 39 career games, he was flagged for one penalty — pass interference as a freshman.
He was a two-time unanimous All-America selection.
I could go on and on, repeating his accomplishments on the field. Let me offer a simple summation:
Eric Berry is smart, mature, talented and comes from a solid family.
Actually that’s a boring summary. Eric Berry is freakishly talented and blessed with uncanny maturity and football instincts.
How about this? He’s Terrell Owens with brains and class.
When Chiefs coach Todd Haley emerged from Kansas City’s draft room, Haley shared a bit of insight into Berry’s character, relating how Berry had helped the Tennessee equipment managers shine helmets on Fridays before games.
If Tim Tebow had legitimate NFL talent, you might compare him to Eric Berry.
I would like to welcome Whitlock to the world of most fans that have known just how special Berry was for quite some time. All you needed to do was watch any Tennessee game over the past three years, listen to Berry give an interview or how his defensive coordinator — Monte Kiffin — couldn’t find enough words to describe how good this kid has a chance to be.
There was never any way, under any circumstances, that Pioli was going to take a chance on the volatile Dez Bryant.
This is the time of year when players are put under a million different microscopes and all of their flaws are exposed and teams start to second guess their abilities. Yet it seemed that Berry was one of the few players that came out looking better after the full vetting.
Berry was the right pick from the minute the 2010 draft order was determined at the end of the regular season and he comes to Kansas City as the perfect picture of “the right 53”.