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.