What a difference a few picks in the first round makes. Any other year, and with pretty much any other team, the Bucs would be salivating at the chance to select super Safety Eric Berry. As a do everything player in the secondary, Berry will give some team the ability to move him around like a modern day chess piece. He received his last year of discipleship under Monte Kiffin, who is, if not the architect of the Tampa Two, certainly the man credited with it's rise and increased usage in the college and professional ranks.
With the 3rd pick, the Bucs could end up having a difficult choice to make. Do they take one of the available defensive tackles that should be the cornerstone to our defense for the next 7-10 years? Do they take the knight from Knoxville, who can seemingly play everywhere and turn our secondary into one of the most dominant in the NFL? Or do they trade down and hope to acquire more talent to fill the sieve-like holes on our team.
Recently Scott Pioli of the Chiefs, and formerly of the Patriots, lauded Berry and his potential and seemingly guaranteed success in the NFL. With the 5th pick, the Chiefs will almost certainly have a choice to make, take a safety who has the look of a gamechanger extremely early, or roll the dice on another player.
If Berry played any other position and possessed the same raw skill and athleticism, he would surely be a guaranteed top 5 pick. But because he plays safety, no one seems to know where he will land. With that being said, Berry will be visiting several teams over the next few days, including our own Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is also scheduled to meet with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
Prior to the acquisition of Sean Jones, many thought that Berry would be the pick, particularly if the dominant duo of Suh and McCoy were gone. With the recent whispers and prognostications that Bradford goes #1 with Okung perhaps going to the Lions at #2, the options are seemingly unlimited for the Bucs at #3. But those of us who have seen the 2009 version of the Pewter Pirates know that there is a monumental whole to fill right in the front line of our defense.
For Berry, and for the Bucs, this should be a match made in heaven. But unfortunately for the Bucs secondary and Berry's checkbook it's 2010 and there is a blackhole in the trenches waiting to be filled.
For more info on Berry, check out Craig T's excellent breakdown of Berry, Cracker Ball's discussion of Berry as a CB, Lee Caz's look at the payday Berry might walk into, Tru Buc' poses a question if Berry would put the Bucs back on track, CBS' look at Berry, a video montage from YouTube of Berry highlights and Lee Caz's take on how safeties how turned out with early picks.