Eric Berry and Dan Williams became the 6th and 7th first-round picks for the Vols since 2006, tying LSU and Florida for the most (and more than doubling another other SEC team) during that span .
Berry, selected 5th by the Kansas City Chiefs, was just the 6th UT player picked in the top five since 1940, and he was absolutely loving every blessed minute of it:
"This is what I’ve been waiting for all of my life, man," Berry said on the NFL Network. "Just to come here. Come to the draft. Play in the NFL. I love it. I’m loving it. I’m loving it." When asked what the Chiefs should expect, Berry said, "They should expect everything, expect a hard worker, a leader. Somebody that’s going to represent on and off the field. Somebody that wants to win championships. Let’s go to work baby. I’m ready."
The Chiefs, too, are quite happy, as well they should be:
"Eric has the characteristics we’re looking for,’’ Haley told The Kansas City Star. ‘’The captain of his college team. Extremely productive. Loves football. That’s clear when you’re around him for any period of time. Competitive. He’ll come in here and amp the competition up, and not just the secondary but all areas."
. . . .
"He’s a physical player," Haley said. "He looks for contact. I don’t think he’s afraid to make big plays. He’s versatile. He has the ability to cover, and in the division we’re in, we’ve got to cover tight ends and receivers and backs.
"That’s one of the big positives with him is that he does have some position flexibility, so to speak. He’s shown the ability to cover in man-to-man situations, and he’s a very good down-in-the-box hitter, and he’s been real good in the back end out in the open field. On top of that, he looks like he has a little knack for pressuring the quarterback.’’
And among Chiefs fans, Berry's approval rating at the time I'm writing this is 2213 approve, 85 trolls, and 63 people who can never make up their minds about anything. Denver Bronco fans? Not so happy about Berry going to rival Kansas City.
Dan Williams fell to the 26th pick by Arizona, but the prevailing wisdom on the free fall was that there was little need for a nose tackle above that and that the Cardinals were an excellent fit for Williams. In any event, Arizona fans are about as happy about Williams as Chiefs fans are about Berry, with a 386-12 approval vote at the time of this writing.
Congrats to Berry, Williams, the Chiefs, and the Cardinals. Make us proud.