Tag:Eric Berry
Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:44 pm
 

Colt McCoy, Eric Berry Rookies of the Week

With all due respect to Oakland Raiders' receiver and kick returner Jacoby Ford (who was spectacular in the Raiders' 23-20 overtime win over the Chiefs) and San Diego rookie Seyi Ajirotutu (two touchdown receptions against the Texans), it is time to recognize the play of Colt McCoy with Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.

I've acknowledged the gutty play of Cleveland Browns' rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the past two weeks, but his performance against the New England Patriots demands attention.

In a surprisingly close loss to the Steelers and the Browns' stunning road win against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, McCoy's Browns played well -- but almost in spite of their rookie signal-caller, not because of him.

The stellar running of Peyton Hillis and the inspired play of the Cleveland defense certainly played critical roles in beating the Patriots, but McCoy was deadly efficient as a passer (completing 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards) and his mobility kept the Patriots' pass rushers frustrated. McCoy's biggest play was his 16-yard scramble for a touchdown on the Browns' first drive of the third quarter. That score gave the Browns a 24-7 lead that proved too much for the Patriots to recover from.

While there were several standout rookie performances on the offensive side of the ball, the pickings were slim among defensive prospects.

New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes had his moments in the loss to McCoy and the Browns, collecting eight tackles in the loss.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry , however, continues to prove he's a young star in the making for the Chiefs. After recording a career-high 10 tackles and his second interception of the season two weeks ago in the home win over Buffalo, Berry showed off his versatility, collecting two sacks on the afternoon.

Berry, the No. 5 overall pick, now has 45 tackles, four passes broken up, two sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery on the season.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:12 pm
 

Blount, Suh winners in competitive Week for Rooks

Just as this past weekend proved to be a very difficult one in determing the senior Prospect of the Week, Sunday's slate of NFL games featured several noteworthy performances from rookies.

No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford played very well in leading the Rams to their fourth win of the season and sole possession of second place in the very winnable NFC West division. Bradford completed a career high 78.1% of his passes for 191 and two touchdowns (against zero interceptions) to beat Carolina.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry, my reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week, was even more impressive Sunday against the Bills than he was against the Jaguars on October 24. Berry posted a career-high 10 tackles and his 4th quarter interception ended a potentially game-winning drive by the Bills in the 4th quarter. The Chiefs, 5-2 and atop the AFC West, won in overtime.

Tampa wideout Mike Williams caught four passes for 105 yards, including an impressive 47-yard touchdown in an exciting 38-35 come from behind win over the Arizona Cardinals.

In the end, however, the continued dominance of Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and resurgence of former Oregon standout LaGarrette Blount stole the show.

Suh, who earned Prospect of the Week honors earlier in the year, may have enjoyed his greatest NFL game so far Sunday in Detroit's win over the Washington Redskins. Suh recorded five tackles, including two tackles for loss, two sacks and returned a fumble 17 yards for his first NFL touchdown. Suh now has 6.5 sacks through seven games. His mark ties him for 8th in the NFL and leads all defensive tackles. 

Blount rushed for 120 yards and two scores -- including the game-winner -- against the Cardinals. The bruising runner showcased the power and surprisingly nimble feet that had earned him high grades from NFL scouts prior to the infamous meltdown in which he punched a Boise State player and was suspended from the Oregon football team.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:18 am
 

Dez Bryant, Eric Berry earn Rookies of the Week

One might think with the dominating performance that Dez Bryant enjoyed on Monday Night Football that it was an easy decision to reward him the Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.

Well, okay, it was.

But that doesn't lessen the fact that several other rookies on the offensive side of the ball were also verrry impressive in Week Seven performances in the NFL.

Carolina receiver David Gettis, for example, caught eight passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns in helping the Panthers beat the 49ers to get their first win of the season.

While Colt McCoy wasn't statistically impressive (9 of 16 for 74 yards), himself, one has to at least acknowledge the fact that his Browns walked into New Orleans and beat the defending Super Bowl champs... especially considering the poise with which McCoy played in his first career start against the Steelers the week before.

McCoy's former favorite wideout - Jordan Shipley - enjoyed a great game for the Bengals, as well. He caught six passes for 131 yards and a 64-yard touchdown against the Falcons.

In the end, Bryant's spectacular performance beat them all, however. Bryant caught four passes for 54 yards and two scores and returned a punt 93 yards for another. His three touchdowns were arguably the only spark shown by the Dallas Cowboys in their key divisional matchup against the first-place Giants.

On the defensive side of the ball, a few back seven defenders really enjoyed strong performances. Arizona outside linebacker Daryl Washington did his best Karlos Dansby impression, posting 11 tackles, including his first career sack Sunday against the Seahawks. On the other sideline of that game, Walter Thurmond III, in his first career game, was often asked to cover Larry Fitzgerald one on one and responded well, recording four tackles and two passes broken up while limiting Fitzgerald to only three catches for 30 yards.

Like for Bryant, it was the versatility shown by Kansas City safety Eric Berry , however, that won him the Defensive Rookie of the Week in my mind.

Berry only had four tackles, but showed the burst and timing in pass defense that helped him establish himself as a star in the SEC from Day One. Berry broke up three passes, recorded his first career interception (which he returned 35 yards) and also forced a fumble in the Chiefs' win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 



Posted on: August 30, 2010 11:25 am
 

2010 class looks worth the hype so far

We told you prior to the draft the 2010 crop of talent looked like one of the best in a long time . Once the underclassmen came on board, the class was being compared by some to the famous 1983 group that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Mathews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Darrell Green.

Comparing this class to the 1983 crew is, of course, vastly premature.
 
At least throughout the weeks of preseason, however, the class looks every bit as good as advertised.

Most years, by this time, we've already identified a half dozen or so highly drafted rookies who are struggling to acclimate to the pros. Sure, Colt McCoy isn't setting the world on fire, but we should have known to expect that a bit considering that he slipped into the 3rd round. Most of the players drafted in the first round are already establishing themselves as either immediate starters or quality backups... exactly what first-round picks are supposed to do.
Think of the top ten this year. Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung, Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, C.J. Spiller and even surprise top ten choice Tyson Alualu have shown flashes of brilliance for their respective teams, already.

The first round picks that have struggled have mostly been due to injuries. Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, etc. have reportedly looked good when practicing, but various injuries have, thus far, slowed their advancement.

Exciting middle, late round and even undrafted free agents have emerged already .

But don't just take my word for it. Check out the stats.

Rookie Anthony Dixon, San Francisco's 6th round pick and the No. 173 player taken overall leads the NFL with 220 rushing yards. 

Rookie Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent for the Giants, leads the league with 251 receiving yards, as well as receiving touchdowns (4). The only player in the league with as many as three TDs? Another rookie. Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski, a second round pick taken No. 42 overall.

So, offensively the rookies are doing well. What about the defense, you ask?

Thanks for asking.

Rookie Pat Angerer, the Colts' second round pick and the No. 63 player taken overall leads the NFL with 24 tackles.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins, a fourth round pick taken at No. 120, leads the league with 4.5 sacks.

I can hear the dispute already. Yeah, rookies see a lot of playing time, and therefore more opportunities to post numbers in the preseason.

True. But the facts remain the same.

This 2010 class of rookies has a chance to be special.

Posted on: August 23, 2010 2:05 pm
 

Strong showing from rookies in TB-KC game

With each picking in the top five last April, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that the Bucs and Chiefs are excited about the play of their top picks, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (No. 3 overall) and safety Eric Berry (No. 5 overall), respectively.

I certainly was impressed with the play of both when scouting the Kansas City and Tampa Bay rookies off of tape after their preseason showdown, Saturday night.

McCoy's burst off the snap and good use of hands made him a consistent headache for Kansas City's starting offensive line. Though he was only credited with two tackles, he should prove to be the headliner of a young and talented Bucs' defensive line.

Berry finished second on the Chiefs with three tackles against the Bucs. His agility, instincts and open-field tackling skills are every bit as refined as I remembered from his All-American days at Tennessee. I rated him as the draft's safest pick, other than Ndamukong Suh, and certainly believe he remains just that. Berry changes this defense.

It was the "other" rookies on these rosters, however, that were the story.

The Chiefs surprised some with the selections of two undersized SEC stars in Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster in the second round, but they may be preparing to get the last laugh. Arenas returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown last week (called back due to penalty) and showed off his SEC-record return skills against Tampa, as well, returning his only kickoff opportunity for 54 yards. McCluster was barely seen in this game (one rush for -1 yard, one catch for 17 yards), but I've been told that the Chiefs may be waiting until the regular season before unleashing Mr. Versatility.

I've previously highlighted the play of Tampa wideout Mike Williams , the Bucs' fourth round pick (No. 101 overall). He finished the game with 3 catches for 44 yards, though arguably his most impressive was a catch in which the team did not receive credit. During a first quarter out-route thrown by backup Josh Johnson, Williams showed off his impressive vertical, long arms and body control in snatching a high and wide pass. The ball took Williams out of bounds, but just barely. He did all he could do, pointing his toes to the ground and falling out of bounds in the hopes of dragging them.

Safety Cody Grimm, the Bucs' 7th round pick (210 overall) saw time early in the game. I noticed him flying around during the second quarter. He isn't going to awe you coming off the bus, but his instinctive play has drawn raves from Tampa coaches already.


Posted on: May 7, 2010 12:19 pm
 

Draft Rewind -- Podcast predictions come true

I've always found it unfortunate that the only two tangible aspects of draft analysis that I and other draft pundits are measured on is the acccuracy of our mock drafts and player rankings (especially the top 100).

In my opinion, what is very nearly as important as these projections are the information draft analysts spread in the weeks and months previous to the draft.

The final weeks before the draft I am asked to participate in a variety of interviews. Some are podcasts. Most are radio, print or television spots.

Podcasts often result in some of my favorite interviews as we have no set time limit and they are so easy to find and hear (or hear again).

I enjoy listening to some of the pre-draft interviews I've done. For one, I'm always looking to improve my delivery of information. I also find it interesting to see just how accurate my predictions and comments were.

I recently was reminded of a podcast I did with Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar on April 8 -- approximately two weeks prior to the draft. Doug is a long-time friend and a growing force in the sports journalism world. Doug and I (admittedly) are each a bit long-winded, but if you have 45 minutes to devote to some good pre-2010 draft conversation, this is a quality listen...

Among the topics include:

Sam Bradford -- Pros and Cons
Tim Tebow -- my thoughts on where he'll go
Debate over Suh-McCoy and Berry-Thomas as top at their positions
Rising prospects at DT, WR, RB
Small school prospects to keep an eye on
And plenty more...
Posted on: May 3, 2010 6:01 pm
 

Five biggest gambles of the draft

Considering the money and time invested, every draft selection ever made is, by definition, a gamble.

However, there are always a group of picks made each year that surprise me with their brazen and obvious risk. These are the picks that either earn general managers and scouting directors the admiration of fans and foes, alike, or result in unemployment.

These are the five moves that I thought were the boldest gambles of the 2010 draft.

  1. Denver's trading up to get Tim Tebow: You knew this would be on the list, but I believe it belongs No. 1 for reasons you may not have considered. The gamble isn't just that Tebow is, in the opinion of most, at least a year away from contributing. If you've followed my blog at all you know that I've argued for three years now that Tim Tebow could be a successful NFL quarterback and warranted second round consideration. I acknowledge that Tebow is a gamble in himself, but to trade up so aggressively to get him -- the Broncos gave up 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks (OLB Sergio Kindle, TE Ed Dickson and TE Dennis Pitta) to Baltimore makes the selection significantly more brazen. Add to this fact that by drafting two wide receivers coming off foot injuries (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker) in the first three rounds to package with Tebow, the team may not get much out of the early round picks in 2010. It is in this way where I really believe Denver's pick of Tebow was especially gutsy (some might say foolish), as the Broncos received stunningly little from their top picks of the 2009 draft, as well. The team got 19 tackles (and no sacks) from first round pass rusher Robert Ayers and 14 tackles (no INTs) from second round cornerback Alphonso Smith. By the time some of Josh McDaniels' talents start to contribute, the Denver head coach may be standing in the unemployment line. This team needed immediate contributors and they, instead, gambled on potential.  
  2. Carolina trading up to make QB Armanti Edwards a WR: Like the Tebow pick, I'm not as surprised with the fact that Carolina drafted Edwards or that he is being asked to convert to receiver or even that he went in the third round (despite NFLDraftScout.com ranking him as a 5th round pick). I'm stunned that Carolina was so aggressive in trading up to get him. The Panthers traded their 2nd round pick (to the Patriots) next year for the right to draft Edwards in the third round (No. 89 overall). Using what amounts to two top 100 picks on a project just seems like too much gamble for a team with as many holes as Carolina. 
  3. Tyson Alualu at 10: I don't consider this to be the gamble that many others, apparently do. Sure, I get that Alualu was a reach at No. 10. He likely would have been on the board in the early 20s. Sources throughout the league tell me the Jags actively worked the phone attempting to trade back out of this pick as they knew taking Alualu this high would invite criticism. When they weren't able to get a decent deal, they stayed put and took their guy. I like Alualu's game and feel that his underrated athleticism, incredible work ethic and position versatility made him one of the safer picks in the draft. While I don't believe Alualu will ever be a superstar, I do believe he'll prove a quality starter in the NFL for ten years or so. Despite what I think, the perception is certainly that GM Gene Smith and the Jaguars reached. If Alualu is a disappointinment -- even if just at first -- Smith could be on the hot seat.   
  4. Dallas/Buffalo/Kansas City ignoring OTs: In Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller and Eric Berry, respectively, I believe the Cowboys, Bills and Chiefs may have three of the most impactful rookies from the 2010 draft. However, the cost of ignoring offensive tackle in the first, second, third and fourth rounds may come back to bite these clubs. All three teams have significant questions at offensive tackle and considering how talented this year' crop was at the position, I'm stunned these clubs didn't make adding help upfront more of a priority. 
  5. San Diego trading up to get Ryan Mathews: I believe Ryan Mathews is the best all-around back in this draft and that his skill-set perfectly fits what was missing in the San Diego offense last season. That said, in making the biggest jump in the first round (trading up from No. 28 to No. 12), the Chargers are investing an awful lot in a running back that was unable to stay healthy during any of his three seasons at Fresno State. San Diego general manager AJ Smith is one of the league's gutsiest on draft day and this could pay off big, but this deal is like doubling down on 12 in black jack. It only looks brilliant if it works out. 


Posted on: April 22, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Philly "on the phone with everyone" to move up

The Philadelphia Eagles are actively searching for trade up opportunities, contacting several teams in the top half of the draft, according to various league sources.

The belief by many is that the team is considering a monster package to move into the top six to get Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

The Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks have all been tied to Berry. I've been told that Berry's former defensive coordinator at Tennessee, Monte Kiffin, has been calling teams signing Berry's praises.

It is easy to see why the Eagles would want Berry. The team missed Brian Dawkins' ability on the field and his leadership off it last year. Berry, in my opinion rates behind only Ndamukong Suh as the safest pick in this draft.

The concern for teams drafting him -- or any other safety -- this high, however, is not only financial, but potentially physical.

Berry has been durable throughout his three seasons at Tennessee, but the the undersized safeties he's often compared to -- Baltimore's Ed Reed, Pittsburgh's Troy Polamaula and Indianapolis' Bob Sanders -- all struggled with injuries last year. In fact, the three missed a combined 27 games just last season.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com