Nov 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Rethinking The 2010 First Round: Eric Berry [Poll]

A lot has been made about Eric Berry this off season, specifically to his role on the team and his significant cap hit. The debate has been strong enough that a local columnist wrote a piece about the Chiefs needing to trade him before the draft. Some would even argue Berry should never been drafted with a top five pick because of the value of safeties.

This brings us to an interesting question: If not Berry then who?

We know from a post by ESPN’s Field Yates the Chiefs were considering three other players with the fifth overall pick. Those players were offensive tackle Russell Okung, linebacker Rolando McClain, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. All three of those players have been valuable to one degree or another.

Okung is the starting left tackle for the now world champion Seattle Seahawks. He was a relatively average tackle for the Seahawks in his first two seasons before having a wonderful season in 2012. Injuries in 2013 slowed him, but he still had a very strong end to the regular season and performed well in the playoffs.

The Chiefs at the time already had Branden Albert at left tackle, who was also a first round pick. Drafting Okung would have either meant moving Okung to the right side or moving Albert to guard. Clearly this was not something the Chiefs wanted to do, and decided to focus on an area of bigger need.

McClain retired prior to the 2013 seasons after being released by the Oakland Raiders, the team who drafted him in 2010. For all intents and purposes, McClain has been a bust.

Jason Pierre-Paul was a key pass rush contributor to the New York Giants in their Super Bowl victory in 2011. You’d be hard pressed to find too many defensive ends better than JPP in 2011 and 2012. He totaled 24 sacks and 82 quarterback pressures over those two seasons, and ranked in the top six for defensive ends in PFF grade in each season. Injuries were an issue in 2013.

Kansas City could have really used the pass rushing help on the defensive line, but Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 scheme did not set up well for Pierre-Paul. Passing on him based on scheme makes sense, however schemes can (and should) be altered to fit players with a lot of talent.

And those are the three. In terms of salary cap space and the traditional view of how how cap space should be spread out, Okung or Pierre-Paul should have been the picks. However, one can make a pretty good argument Berry is the better player of these three even with the year missed to knee surgery.

Who are some other top players the Chiefs passed on with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 first round? Cornerback Joe Haden (7th overall), wide receiver Dez Bryant (24th overall), and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (22nd overall), all immediately jump out as players who the Chiefs should have considered with the pick who also play positions people traditionally do not mind paying big money.

All of those players are also considered playmakers, who can completely dominate a win a game for their football team. Can the same be said about Berry?

Keeping in mind what was available to the Chiefs in the draft, the old CBA would have made the cap hit a nightmare for whomever the Chiefs selected, and the present knowledge of how all of these players have turned out after four seasons, who would you have preferred the Chiefs take with the fifth overall pick in 2010?

Vote in the poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Who should the Chiefs have selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft?

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Tags: Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs NFL Draft

  • jimfromkcj

    this shows the obvious fan kool aid addicts. Name one game where Berry has dominated and won a game for the Chiefs And with all his talent does he really make a difference? With the exception of Haden and McClain, I would trade Berry for them in a second. By the way, by being unable to look at things realistically shows why we suck big time for the last 40 years.

    • Brian Dempsey

      I wanted Okung with that pick and would take him over Berry THEN and NOW.

      And there was no bigger need than O-Line at that time. Albert stunk at LT in 2009 and 2010 and the rest of the O-Lineman the Chiefs had at that time are all out of the league and probably delivering pizza to somebody’s doorstep.

      • jimfromkcj

        Brian, Okung was my choice as well. And we could have drafted Allen in the 2nd rd instead of McCluster. Allen wasn’t as good as Berry, but he was the best safety on the board at that spot He and Pollard would have been done a very good job for us and would be good to this day. The first dr of that 2010 draft was disappointing, but the 2nd rd was a disaster. What kind of Moron would draft 2 midgets when there were so many big athletic playmakers available. I never had much use for Pioli when they hired him but after his drafts I knew we were stuck.

        • Brian Dempsey

          UGH!! The 2nd round of that 2010. I was in disbelief and just livid when those selections were made & it clearly illustrated that Pioli had no plan.

      • Scott

        Yeah….Wiegmann, Waters, and Lilja are all probably delivering pizzas

        • Brian Dempsey

          They should have been, given the way they blocked so poorly.

  • berttheclock

    I love the study of history, but, I detest revisionist history. What was done was done and not one single Dang thing is going to change it!

    • jimfromkcj

      bert, if more people paid attention to mistakes in the past and learned how to avoid making them again, we might live in a better world. And you are as right as rain we aren’t going to change anything, but we can see that it doesn’t become a way of life and just blame it on karma or some other cliché from the 60′s.

      • Wes McDougal

        We aren’t talking about life and death decisions here. It’s a draft pick and that is a crap shoot most of the time.

    • Brian Dempsey

      Problem is Bert, that those that don’t learn from history are bound to repeat & history had shown that taking a Safety in the top-10 was mot a good selection for the teams that had done it over the previous 25 years, with only the late Sean Taylor being the only one living up to his draft status and even as good as Taylor was, the Skins kept right on losing.

      • Chris Tarrants

        Who would you have wanted? Obviously a LT was never going to happen. Berry was the only pick that made sense at the time, and he has out played every other player who was drafted in this article. Granted Okung just won a ring but what was he doing before this year? Berry is the QB of our defense and although he isn’t a record breaker, he holds his own considering that he has been handcuffed with that sloth that we had playing opposite safety

        • Brian Dempsey

          I said Okung is who I wanted. And he’s played at an All-Pro level since coming into the league. Drafting Okung ( and have you followed him much? probably not because Berry has NOT outplayed Okung, not even close) and putting him at LT and moving Albert to LG where he had played in college and high school would have given the O-Line a two-fold upgrade and locked down the left side of the Chiefs O-Line for many years. You can’t beat that by drafting a Safety. All this hype regarding Berry is just silly hero-worship garbage and he wasn’t as good a DB prospect coming out of college as another Tennessee Safety the Chiefs drafted at #20 back in ’92 named Dale Carter, who was faster, could return punts, and his coverage skills were good enough that the Chiefs moved him to CB right from the get-go.

          LT never happen, huh? Well, it just did a year ago, and it would have happened back then in 2010, if Dorsey or Vermeil would have been making that selection.

  • Chris Tarrants

    I wanted Berry, and I would still draft him if I was the GM and had a do over. He might not have his name in the lights, or break any pick records but you don’t see his name in any police reports, and he is always one of the first that shows up for workouts. He is a blue collar kid who bust his butt, and he holds his side of the field. Give him another safety who had sub 5 40 and he will be even better. Name one safety in the league that you would rather send on a blitz? He is so versatile that its almost rediculis. He should not only keep his job but he should get an extension

    • Brian Dempsey

      Irrelevant. He’s not worth 10 mill a year & the likelihood of the Chiefs continuing to pay him that much after his rookie contract expires is about as likely as a blizzard happening in Hawaii. Alex, Poe, and Justin Houston are higher priorities to get long-term deals done than Berry is, and other players may join that list as the 2014 season unfolds. Berry will end up walking just like Albert did.

      • mnelson52

        I saw it snowing when I was in Hawaii.

  • Wes McDougal

    I think it’s time to get off this Berry kick and move on to something else. He is a great player and an asset to the team. I for one am glad he is on the team. Go Chiefs!!

    • Dakota Morgan

      Couldn’t have said it better. He provides leadership, unlike most of the guy’s on this list.

      • Wes McDougal

        Trading Berry is crazy talk. He is to good and we could not replace his talent for much less money

    • KCMikeG

      Let’s trade away one of the best players on our team at the glaring position of need on our defense for a 2nd and 3rd round unproven player. I’ll take a proven performer for this year.

  • Dustin Joyce

    Hindsight is 20/20 amaright? Obviously DT, Dez, Jimmy Ghram, or any other offensive superstar we passed up would be better. The question is how a safety got so much money – I think we did a bad job with value/pay for both Bowe and Berry (I love both as a chiefs fan) but they aren’t as good as their financial equals on other teams. It’s pretty much bad luck and bad timing mixed with bad talent evaluation. Yet, I’m a fan, we went 11-5, and have a returning HC, OC, and DC for the first time in a decade…so good luck is coming our way

    • Calchiefsfan

      Berry’s salary was not negotiable since that was the rookie pay scale for the 5th pick in that year’s draft. Fortunately the NFL got rid of the insane rookie contracts the year after Berry was drafted.

  • Gumby

    I wish they’d have picked Demaryius Thomas instead of Eric Berry and I remember wanting Dez Bryant. Both of them have been incredibly more productive than Berry. But you can’t change the past and having Berry now still feels like a good move, just not great. I’ll take good moves over terrible ones any day. Eric Berry is nowhere near done with his career and has only gotten better and better. He has the will to adjust his negatives into positives and is still young. He’s a big piece in Sutton’s attack and will be feared for years to come.

  • cyberry

    All the years, The Chiefs are Cheap!! Clark Hunt Needs to start putting out some money for players!!.. They have the premier Safety and now ‘trade him” he makes tooo much!.. For everybody bitchin about.. the cost on our top players. .. There are a lot of teams who pay bucks for players to come to them and they don’t produce or get hurt and only play a couple of games in the season.. The Chiefs big salary guys are going to the Pro-Bowl and made the biggest turn around in football history..

    After the Chiefs went 2-14 and fans where booing at Arrowhead. I can’t even imagine the emotions in Clark Hunts head. Handed the keys to the team his father, one of the most important figures in NFL history..and this is what it had came too.. A year later.. Arrowhead has it’s energy back!! Kansas City football is back!!
    I doubt Hunt gives a damn about Berry’s (one of the back-bones of the defense).. and he pays it..