Berry vs. Okung: the Showdown.

What happened to me?

I’m a draftnik! I love the NFL Draft! I live for it. It is the most exciting time of the year for me, it’s my annual Super Bowl that the Chiefs make every year. So the Combine should be my Christmas, right? It should be the pinnacle of activity — this is the last real chance to get the players out there and get some movement on the bigboards. Many players look neck-and-neck to me every year — and the Combine will put my indecision to rest. It’s a celebration of promise and potential and for better days ahead.

So why has it bummed me out so much this year?

Because it has become very clear that Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung will be our pick.

It is just becoming too obvious. The Combine has effecitvely eliminated Rolando McClain from consideration as a Top 10 pick. He chose not to run the 40, and his workouts were poor. And these are things that matter to Pioli — you simply don’t go with a devalued position like a 3-4 inside linebacker unless that kid has elite speed. And it is now clear since McClain has decided not to run the 40 exactly how likely it is that he does not have that speed. Which means he won’t be able to cover terribly well, which could make him a two-down player. I think he has effectively killed off any chance of being selected by the Chiefs with a Top 10 pick.

Okung, on the other hand, has not only pulled away from the rest of the tackles in this year’s Draft with his killer work at the Combine, but he’s singled himself out in my mind, despite my many protests, to be the most likely selection by the Chiefs. He knew he had to be a workout warrior, and he nailed it, by golly. He ran pretty well, but physically he was perfect, his arms are prototypical LT stuff, and despite his long arms, he still outlifted the entire field of tackles (long arms are a disadvantage in lifting).

I don’t know if Okung is the real deal (his scheme still frightens me), but there’s no question that he looks like it to Pioli and our scouts. The only other tackle that matches his level of ability is Bruce Campbell, who I actually like more but he’s a boom-or-bust guy destined for Oakland.

The Combine has cleared the mist, and our prospects are looking much clearer:

  • Bradford is likely headed to St. Louis.
  • Detroit and the Bucs are in love with McCoy and Suh.
  • Shanahan’s history points with 99% certainty that he wants Clausen.
  • Haden is likely doomed to fall out of the Top 10 with a sub 4.5 forty yard dash. Ouch. I did not see that coming.
  • McClain, well…
  • Dan Williams is probably in the Top 10 now, but I don’t think the Chiefs reach for him.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul did not look like the freak athlete he was advertised as, and is probably out of the Top 10.

Now, it’s not all predestined. The wildcard here is Eric Berry. With Bradford and Clausen nearly-destined to go in the Top 4, we are likely heading towards a decision between Eric Berry (my #1 preference in this Draft) or Russell Okung (NOOOOOOO…).

The monumental nature of this decision cannot be overstated. Okung is a great specimen, and the safest pick in the Draft, decently upgrading two positions on our woeful offensive line. Berry is an intelligent attack dog on the field that can be the team-leading game-changer that only elite safeties can be. 

The conservative fans who pine for the days of Roaf, Waters, and Shields, want Okung. The more ambitious fans who want to pave a new path want Berry.

Okung is the trenches guy that Pioli loves above all others. Berry is the fiery playmaker that Haley adores.

Okung is your foundation. Berry is your sizzle.

And there can only be one.

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