Eric Berry: NFL Draft Profile

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

Measurements

The 140-character Twitter Summary

  • Ball-hawking, snot-knocking, do-everything-well defensive back.

Strengths

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:


Weaknesses

  • 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.

Over/underrated?

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

Final career stats

Games
Played
Rushing Total
Offense
Receiving
  Rushes Gain Loss Net TDs Plays Yds No Yds TD
39 7 44 7 37 0 7 37 1 3 0
Int. Ret. Fum. Ret. Kickoff
Ret.
Pts
No Yds TD No Yds TD No Yds TD TTL
TDs
14 494 3 4 103 0 6 132 0 3 18
Tackles Passes
Defended
Forced
Fumbles
QB Hurries
Ast Solo Asst
Loss
Solo
Loss
Loss
Yds
88 157 3 16 45 17 2 3
X
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