With the NFL Combine kicking off this week, the NFL Draft taking place in late April, and countless NFL mock drafts in between, several of SB Nation's college blogs are adding to the conversation by profiling the players they expect to be drafted from their favorite team. First up for Tennessee is Eric Berry. Be sure to checkout SB Nation's own Mocking the Draft to keep up with where our guys might be headed.
Safety/Defensive Back Eric Berry's NFL Draft Profile
- 5'11", 203 pounds. 4.33 forty time (with a cast!).
The 140-character Twitter Summary
- Ball-hawking, snot-knocking, do-everything-well defensive back.
Eric Berry is the total package, excelling at everything expected of star defensive backs. He's an incredibly fierce hitter, anticipating plays to get to just the right spot at just the right time so that he can launch himself at the ball carrier with a bone-crunching, perfect form tackle. He also uses his high intelligence, game savvy, and closing speed to read passing plays and bait quarterbacks into throwing interceptions. After interceptions and fumble recoveries, he uses field vision, sneaky quick moves and angles, and pure speed to rack up yards.
Berry's not just a star athlete, though. He is a genuine, quality character guy who will not only keep himself out of trouble, but go out of his way to keep others out of trouble as well. South Carolina offensive tackle Rokevious Watkins credits Berry with keeping him from a life of using and dealing drugs, and when star freshman safety Janzen Jackson was arrested (the charges were later dismissed) for armed robbery, Berry moved Jackson into his off-campus house to help get him back on the right path.
In his first two seasons, Berry compiled 12 interceptions and a staggering 487 yards on interception returns. After only a half of a typical college career, Berry was a mere 15 yards from having the NCAA career record for interception return yards. It seemed like the guy could steal the ball at will, and when he got it, he was gone:
Despite playing one more season, Berry never did get the record. No, for Berry's junior season, Monte Kiffin utilized him in various atypical roles for a safety, primarily keeping him close to the line of scrimmage to shut down opponents' run games. This is probably the biggest reason that Berry's Heisman campaign fizzled, but that does not mean that he didn't have a fantastic, highlight-filled final season for the Volunteers:
- Can't fly.
- Can't play more than two positions at once.
- Can't clone himself, although he does have two younger brothers following in his footsteps. Seriously, the only question the pro scouts bring up about Berry is the shoulder surgery he had eons ago. He played the bulk of a season with that thing (so add toughness to his list of strengths), and no one who saw him hit poor offensive players after the surgery would dare question the shoulder. Not to his face anyway.
Non-football endearing/charming/interesting thing
Berry is frightened of horses and bees. Seriously. Equines scare him, and I once saw video of him ducking under a table at an autograph session when a bee buzzed by, although I can no longer find the video of that.
Most mock drafts have Berry being drafted as either the second or third pick overall, although I've seen one site have him as low as 6th. Despite the hype and the overwhelming expectations, you really can't say that he's overrated and you can make an argument for underrated. After all, Berry came to Tennessee with those same expectations (he was RTT#1 in the Class of 2007 (lots of good stuff at that link)), and he not only lived up to them, he exceeded them.
Additional articles on Eric Berry from RTT
Eric Berry vs. Taylor Mays: who's better? - Rocky Top Talk
Tennessee's Eric Berry and Southern Cal's Taylor Mays are both elite defensive backs, but which one is better?
- Eric Berry for Heisman: Is the perfect storm brewing?
- How NOT to conduct a Heisman campaign for Eric Berry
UTSports pwns bloggers with its Eric Berry viral video campaign - Rocky Top Talk
Tennessee executes a well-conceived practical joke on its fans in the first week of the Eric Berry for Heisman viral video campaign.
Should Eric Berry win the Thorpe Award? - Rocky Top Talk
Eric Berry had the best statistical season of any defensive back in college football last year...and lost the Thorpe Award to a guy with better name recognition. Now, the roles are reversed...will he win tonight?
Talking Points: Eric Berry's long goodbye begins - Rocky Top Talk
The day's news for Tennessee Volunteer fans, including a must-read feature piece by Wes Rucker on Eric Berry.
Talking Points: Eric Berry tells Ed Reed to shut up - Rocky Top Talk
The day's news links for Tennessee Volunteer fans, including Eric Berry telling Baltimore Ravens' safety Ed Reed to shut up, not believing he was really on the phone.
Talking points: Eric Berry fails, makes mistake, earth moves - Rocky Top Talk
A quick roundup of the day's news for Tennessee Volunteer fans, including an Armageddon item -- Eric Berry attempting to force a fumble and failing, followed by a dropped interception.
Talking points: we interrupt this coaching search to bring you Eric Berry edition - Rocky Top Talk
A round up of all the Tennessee Volunteers news of the day.
Devotion of Watkins, Berry goes beyond blood - Rocky Top Talk
Your best source for quality Tennessee Volunteers news, rumors, analysis, stats and scores from the fan perspective.
Talking Points: Monte Kiffin says Eric Berry a quick study - Rocky Top Talk
The day's news links for Tennessee Volunteer fans, including Monte Kiffin's assessment of Eric Berry's ability to learn the T-2 quickly.
Best Plays of 2008: Eric Berry's Third Interception of the Year - Rocky Top Talk
Eric Berry's interception against the Northern Illinois Huskies, his third of the season, is one of the Best Plays of 2008.
Best Plays of 2008: EBWACC (Eric Berry's Wake Always Contains Carnage) - Rocky Top Talk
Eric Berry's interception and 45-yard return against the South Carolina Gamecocks is one of the Tennessee Volunteers' Best Plays of 2008.
Best Plays of 2008: By Guess Who . . . Eric Berry - Rocky Top Talk
Eric Berry's 45-yard pick six against Vanderbilt is one of the Tennessee Volunteers' Best Plays of 2008.
The RTT Best Play of 2008 is . . . Eric Berry Clobbers Knowshon Moreno - Rocky Top Talk
Out of 15 plays, Eric Berry's shot on Knowshon Moreno is chosen as the Best Play of 2008.
Final career stats
|Int. Ret.||Fum. Ret.||Kickoff