In the comments section of the Anquan Boldin story that Paul wrote, SOGWDNC and I got into a fairly lengthy discussion about whether a quality safety would be available in the 2nd round, or if we should draft Eric Berry no matter who is available. I said that there is no way the top three or four safeties go off the board in the first round, and SOGWDNC disagreed with me. I thought I would do a little research and see what I could dig up.
Read on after the jump...
In the past decade there have been twelve safeties selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
2009 - 0
2008 - NYG: Kenny Phillips #31
2005 - 0
2004 - Washington: Sean Taylor #5
2003 - Pittsburgh: Troy Polamalu #16
2002 - Dallas: Roy Williams #8, Baltimore: Ed Reed #24
2001 - 0
2000 - 0
Now we can see that there was a serious run on safeties in 06 and 07. It is also worth noting that no safety has been taken higher than #5 overall, and five have been taken in the top ten (two by the Skins). Could this year be like 06? Could Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, and Earl Thomas all come off the board in round 1? Or will one of them be available to us with our #35 pick overall?
Let's take a look at how those same safeties are currently doing in the NFL:
Kenny Phillips: The jury is still out on him. Was looking very good, but missed nearly all of 2009 with an injury
Laron Landry: Has all the athletic ability in the world, but routinely gives up long plays, takes bad angles, and is susceptible to double moves. Sound familiar? Many in Washington have labeled him a bust.
Michael Griffin: Griffin appears to be as advertised and is already playing at nearly a pro bowl level
Reggie Nelson: According to this Reggie Nelson could find himself looking for a new job in the offseason. He may very well be flat out released by the Jags.
Brandon Meriweather: Made the Pro Bowl this year
Michael Huff: Had his starting position taken by the undrafted Hiram Eugene last season, but looked good when he got a chance to get into the games.
Donte Whitner: He is an enigma. Shows flashes here and there. Has also had trouble with the law (he even got tasered by police last year in Cleveland. He was a little injury plagued last year, but has been a solid starter every year he has been in the league.
Jason Allen: Who? Seriously I had no idea who this guy was. Coincidentally, he was drafted out of Berry's alma mater, the University of Tennessee. He has switched back and forth from safety to CB during his career with the Dolphins. He has failed to earned a starting position and may not make the roster in 2010.
Sean Taylor: Deceased (R.I.P.)
Troy Polamalu: I think we all know he is simply fantastic and the only competition he has for being the best at what he does is from...
Ed Reed: The perfect NFL safety? Many say Berry is going to be the next Ed Reed.
Roy Williams: Saw limited action with the Cincinatti Bengals this season. Amassing 28 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and no interceptions.
I have been advocating taking Suh, or McCoy, and then settling for Berry if they are both gone, but given the fact that history is on our side, not to mention the fact that this draft is very deep at virtually every position, I like the chances of Mays or Thomas being available at #35. We should address our defensive line with the #3 pick and even if that means taking Mount Cody or Dan Williams, so be it. Obviously we would be better served to trade down to the eight or nine pick to obtain one of these players. Let's just hope another team is going to to want to make some moves.
I realize this is really just an extended version of a discussion that was already in progress, but I was sick of scrolling through 180+ comments to see what the new one was. So, what do you guys think? Is it worth it to take Berry?