An Eric Berry Draft Visit Story


Nov 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) during the second half of the game at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers won 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This one fell through the cracks, but reappeared in my timeline thanks to a retweet from the excellent Nick Jacobs. Two weeks ago Field Yates of ESPN wrote a post talking about draft prospect visits and how it impacts a player’s draft status. This post was written for ESPN’s Boston blog  after it was reported the Patriots were visiting with Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, so it was written with a Patriots slant to it.

Why does this matter to the Chiefs? Yates worked for the Chiefs’ scouting department in 2010 when the Chiefs had the fifth overall pick. To help explain the purpose of a draft visit he told a story about how the team handled pre-draft visits before the 2010 draft. Here are a few excerpts from his story.

"[O]ur first visit that year was Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike. We didn’t have a major need — or really any need — for quarterback depth, but he was a player we deemed worthy of receiving more due diligence."

The Chiefs’ quarterback depth chart in 2010: Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Palko. The great “Tony Pike” was their pre-draft quarterback of choice. Yeah, quarterback evaluation in the Scott Pioli era was awesome.

Anyway… Eric Berry.

"Several of our visits homed in on players who projected to be available when we selected fifth overall: Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain and Tennessee safety Eric Berry, the player ultimately picked.…Everything about Berry’s game-tape and background research suggested he would be an ideal choice at No. 5. The way he carried himself — he elected to wear a suit, approaching the day in a businesslike manner — and seamlessly connected with several coaches and front-office members reinforced that he should be our target with pick No. 5."

It is interesting to note the players the Chiefs considered with the fifth overall pick and how Berry separated himself from the group. Sometimes things are not as complicated as we make them when it comes to the draft. All it took was a suit and tie for Berry to stand out in the crowd.