Bucky Brooks, former NFL defensive back and current media analyst for NFL.com recently published a top ten list in which he counted down the most dynamic safeties in the game.
The former No. 5 overall pick has made three Pro Bowls in his four NFL seasons. (Berry essentially missed the entire 2011 campaign after tearing his ACL in the opener.) He twohas blossomed into a hybrid safety with the skills to cover tight ends and receivers in space, as well as the ability to be a difference maker against the run as an extra defender around the box. In addition, Berry is a disruptive pass rusher with a great feel for slipping through cracks to get home on blitzes. He finished with 3.5 sacks in 2013 and provided a number of splash plays. Given his overall impact, talent and production, Berry deserves this lofty spot
Since entering the league in 2010, Eric Berry’s impact for the Chiefs defense has been tremendous and he’s become one of the leaders on the team. His 2013 campaign was no slouch either, racking up 73 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions (2 returned for TD’s) and 2 forced fumbles, both of which he recovered.
As Bucky mentioned, Berry is a hybrid player who’s skills are only second to Earl Thomas. His ability to cover almost anywhere on the field and to stop the run is hard to find from many players in today’s game.
He ranked 50th in the NFL’s annual countdown of the top 100 players of 2014. You can check that out right here.
He was also ranked 37th in Pro Football Focus’s top 101 of 2013, making him the 2nd highest rated safety, only behind Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks. Here’s what PFF had to say,
It’s not easy for a safety to go at No. 5 overall and justify the pick, but Berry is a man who has made that happen. His 2013 season wasn’t perfect but it was a highlight reel of what it takes to be a complete safety in the NFL. A rare athlete capable to play linebacker in dime packages, match up man-on-man with tight ends, and perform more traditional safety roles (whether in the box or not). Berry put forth a tremendous season that would earn him the highest grade of any strong safety in the regular season.
Best Performance: Week 12, SD @ KC, +3.6
Key Stat: It’s true that Berry led all defensive backs with 17 combined sacks, hits and hurries.
There are still groups of fans that feel Berry is a tad overrated throughout the Chiefs Kingdom. He has struggled at times to cover the better tight ends in the game but I don’t agree, Berry is a dynamic player and has earned all the praise he’s receiving.
The numbers speak for themselves but the most important number for Berry coming up has to deal with his contract. The Chiefs need to work out an extension, as Berry has a very high cap number of $11.6 million dollars this season. After 2015, he is set to become a free agent.
The ideal situation would be for the Chiefs to offer him an extension over the next two seasons to A). free up some extra cap space and B). keep the former number 5 overall pick on their roster for many years.
Berry is one of the best players on the team and all his rankings and honors from last season are well deserved.