Monday, 19 April 2010

Scouting Report: Eric Berry, CB, Tennessee

By Kyle Rota
Note: This close to the draft, there are a lot of good articles pushing down other good articles here. Do yourself a favor and make sure to read through the entire first page and possibly the second, depending on how frequently you visit Seahawks Draft Blog. Without further ado, I present my most controversial report yet, Eric Berry the Cornerback.

Name: Eric Berry
Position: Cornerback
School: Tennessee
Height: 5115 V
Weight: 211 V

Athleticism: Despite being one of the more high-cut players in this draft, Berry is an elite athlete. He has very good if not great pure speed for the cornerback position, changes directions well, and is very fluid with his hips. He also has great strength for a cornerback and has that explosive trait in his burst and his hitting. 7.0

Man Coverage: Although Berry was nominally listed at S for Tennessee, he played a lot of cornerback in man coverage and looked very good there, a result of playing cornerback in high school. His backpedal is excellent and he possesses the closing burst needed to recover when he is beat. He generally avoids giving too much cushion and has the ball skills to make quarterbacks pay. He will need to adjust to playing outside, so his potential is higher than the grade indicates. 6.0

Ball Skills: Berry has fantastic ball skills, making a few interceptions that most cornerbacks wouldn’t have even touched. While not the constant presence on the ball that Haden is, Berry still has the hands to grab a lot of interceptions in the NFL. 7.0

Zone Coverage: 6.0 Another area that Berry will need adjustment. As a safety, Berry was very proficient in zone coverage, especially shorter zones. He reads them pretty well and reads the quarterback very well. With his hitting ability, burst, intelligence, and ball skills I think Berry could become a very good zone cornerback.

Coverage Instincts: 7.0
Berry has very good coverage instincts, diagnosing the play fairly quickly and reading the QB very well. Smartly plays double moves and pump fakes.

Tackling: 7.0 Berry has major issues tackling as a safety. While he is capable of making strong tackles and even powerful hits, too often he is out of position and has to lunge to compensate. Berry tends to take better routes (and this use better form) when close to the LOS, and compared to other cornerbacks Berry will be an explosive and largely reliable tackler.

Run/Pass Recognition: 6.5 Berry is an intelligent player who reads run/pass well. While occasionally prone to bit on misdirection runs, his generally quick reads will be an asset.

Avoid/Shed Blockers: 6.5 Berry surprised me with his ability to shed the blocks of much bigger players. While he lacks the size to be playing in trash a whole lot, he will have little to no problem beating WR blocks.

Blitzing: 6.5 Berry is an explosive blitzer out of the nickel package, and an explosive hitter when he gets a straight line to the quarterback.

Press/Tight Coverage: 6.0 Don’t let the grade fool you, it is only “average” because I didn’t see Berry consistently play tight on WRs. Given his combination of fluid hips, athleticism, instincts, and strength, this could be a major strength. I just can’t assign a higher grade without actually seeing it on the field.

Fluid Hips: 7.5 Players at high cut as Berry should not be this fluid. He looks like he is 75% leg, but changes direction very well and can flip his hips without wasted motion.

Footwork/Technique: 6.0 Berry has not had to consistently play as a cornerback since high school, and while his backpedal could be faster it does not have wasted motion and I think Berry can improve on the speed of his drop. His hips are loose and he can turn with WRs easily. Another area where Berry is restricted (to a solid grade) because of experience, not capability.

Summary: There are not too many others projecting Berry as a cornerback, and truthfully I didn’t want to because changing positions is always a risky affair. However, it became clear that Berry plays much better when near the line of scrimmage – when he lines up deep, he struggles to make an impact. Tennessee used him all over the field, and many of Berry’s big plays came when lined up at cornerback or SS. Because of his ball skills and athleticism, I think Berry should become a very good cornerback at the next level. He compares similarly to Haden, with a little less upside but Berry is far more capable of playing (well) at least as a nickel corner in his first season.

Final Grade: 6.6


Rob Staton said...

I would echo Kyle's sentiments regarding scrolling down the blog and reading the increased content that will be available this week. The blog is going to be updated very regularly. I will post a 'day in review' piece each morning so people can see clearly what's been posted over the last few days.

Anonymous said...

And I would echo Kips sentiments regarding Berry being a ProBowl bound CORNERBACK. So, if we want to draft a top notch corner with the #6 pick this Thursday, here's your guy

Anonymous said...

opps Kyle's. Sorry Dude!

Matthew Baldwin said...

Can you define "high cut"?

bashir24 said...

i think seahawks will draft eric berry

Anonymous said...

I hope they draft Clausen!

Kyle Rota said...

Matthew Baldwin - High cut refers mainly to the leg/butt, basically Berry has very long legs for his height. Generally, being labeled high cut is a bad thing because it hinders the ability to change directions quickly and often results in "stiff" players who can't flip their hips. Berry looks like he is 75% leg, but he doesn't suffer from those problems.

Matthew Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kyle.

Besides CB/S, are there other positions that high cut players aren't typically well suited for? What positions does high cut not matter?

Thanks in advance for indulging me.

Anonymous said...

If the hawks do draft Berry, do you see us using him as a SS or corner?

Kyle Rota said...

MB - WR (tough to run routes without losing speed) and RB (tough to have balance and leg drive, IMO two of the most important skills for a RB) are bad ones. It's not good for the bigger guys either because it makes it hard to anchor.

That said, it's not a death sentence. There are successful players who are high cut at a lot of positions. Jeremy Maclin is high cut, and it hurts him in his routes, but he'll be a good player anyways because his other skills make up for it. It just isn't ideal to be high cut, but it can be compensated for.

Anon - My guess is safety. I'd hope it is SS, but Carroll never really had an undersized defense at USC (too young to remember his previous NFL days), so I'm afraid Carroll would want Berry at FS. I think it'd be best to put him at CB, but he might be an impact SS if thrown there. At FS, he'll be decent, but I don't think he'll be a true defense-changing player.

Kelly said...

So I was having a little fun and took a look at the days leading up to the NFL draft last year.
(Just change the date on the URL to 4/24/2009, ect.)

and as much as I enjoy your insight Rob, you only got 5 out of the the first 32 picks right last year. :) it's okay though, you're still 1000 times better at picking then I probably would be. Obviously one team that picks differently then you will change the next...and so on. It looks like Seattle really screwed up your draft last year by picking Curry over Crabtree and then the Jet's jumping ahead of the Redskins to draft Sanchez. Just goes to show ya that there's not a whole lot of certainty outside the first 5 picks.

I also found this post interesting via Pat Kirwin last year. Obviously he knows Carroll better then Ruskell but still:

Pat Kirwan also published a new mock for He has a different slant on things, predicting the Detroit Lions will take an offensive lineman with the first pick. This means Matt Stafford falls to the fourth pick, with Seattle banking him as a future replacement for Matt Hasselbeck. Surprisingly, Aaron Curry falls all the way to Green Bay at ninth overall.

Charles said...

Kelly- Most draft analysts don't get graded on how many exact picks they get right each year, they get graded on how many of their picks actually go in the first round. If you base it off that, it shows that the scout is good at knowing/scouting the players potential and value for where that player should go. That also fixes alot of what trades mess up for peoples mock drafts. Rob Rang who has generally been one of the better analysts out there the last few years picked 28 out of 32 correctly of which went in the first round. Go back and check Rob Staton's selections with that in mind and I bet his numbers increase dramatically.

Kelly said...

Good point Charles. And I imagine Rob Stanton was probably in the mid 20's too. My point was, ya never know who might go after 5 due to trades, random picks (Darius Hayward Bay) ect. which end up sliding players down the draft board.

Anonymous said...

Here's my prediction of how the draft may play out. Critique is appreciated.

1.Sam Bradford - Rams
2.Ndamukong Suh - Lions
3.Gerald McCoy - Buccaneers
4.Russell Okung - Redskins
5.Trent Williams - Chiefs
6.Eric Berry - Hawks
7.Joe Haden - Browns
8.Bruce Campbell - Raiders
9.Jimmy Clausen - Bills
10.Derrick Morgan - Jaguars
11.Dez Bryant - Broncos
12.Dan Williams - Dolphin
13.Bryan Bulaga - 49ers
14.Charles Brown - Hawks
15.Rolando McClain - Giants
16.Jason Pierre-Paul - Titans
17.Taylor Mays - 49ers
18.Devin McCourty - Steelers
19.Everson Griffen - Falcons
20.Earl Thomas - Texans
21.Jermaine Gresham - Bengals
22.Jared Odrick - Patriots
23.Anthony Davis - Packers
24.Kareem Jackson - Eagles
25.Brandon Graham - Ravens
26.Roger Saffold - Cardinals
27.Mike Iupati - Cowboys
28.CJ Spiller - Chargers
29.Sergio Kindle - Jets
30.Patrick Robinson - Vikings
31.Brian Price - Colts
32.Sean Weatherspoon - Saints

Rob Staton said...

Kelly - I think the most direct hits last year was nine amongst mocks. The thing is though, because we don't do trades, all kinds of things can happen. One guy taken earlier than you think can change a draft completely. I should've known better with the Seahawks pick last year, but didn't even expected Ruskell to just draft another linebacker with so many other needs. In hindsight, it was a major error on my behalf.

On the plus side, I didn't read another mock anywhere that had Denver taking Knowshon Moreno.

Steve in Spain said...

Football Outsiders has unveiled a new metric for projecting edge rushers. They call it SackSEER:

"There are four main factors that correlate to sack success in the NFL: vertical leap, short shuttle time, sacks per game in college (with some playing time adjustments), and how many eligible games worth of NCAA football the player missed for any reason (except early entry into the NFL Draft). SackSEER projects each prospect's total sacks through five years, which is roughly the average length of the rookie contract received by a first- or second-round pick. Although the individual trends are small, when considered together, they project sack production approximately three times more accurately than a player's draft position within the first two rounds. Overall, SackSEER accounts for approximately 40 percent of the historical variation among these players' accumulated five-year sack totals."

For this year it likes Jerry Hughes, hates JPP (it considers JUCO years as "missed NCAA starts"), and rates South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood and Washington defensive end Daniel Te'O'Nesheim as sleepers.

Kelly said...

Rob-You nailed the Max Unger pick tho. Great job there! When Mack went 21, it forced Seattle to get into the mix for Unger.

My #'s could be a little off but I think you nailed 27 out of 32 1st rounders last year. Thats definately impressive. Especially when the ones you missed were in the last 1/3 of the 1st round where ya never know who might be picked between 22-32.

Steve in spain- I like your picks for the most part except for 3 of them. I personally believe Taylor May will drop into the late 20's if anything in the 1st. I also don' see Spiller falling to 26 or Davis at 23. But definately these picks are possible.

Kelly said...

I meant that comment for Anonymous not Steve in Spain. Sorry for the confusion

Savage said...

After reading this report, I am much more comfortable with the Hawks picking Berry, especially if they use him in a way that allow him certain matchups. To me, the glaring weakness in the secondary is ball skills. I am so tired of watchin WR's out position and jump our CB's for the ball.

It seems that Berry would bring the ability to defend these players. If willing, Carroll could play him at S during rushing downs, then on passing downs let him lock onto the opponents best receiver. Put him on a guy like Fitzgerald and hope to nuetralized him.

If he's availible at #6 and they aren't going to pick Claussen, I'd much rather see the pick spent on Berry than Williams, who before the combine was considered a mid-teens pick. Now he's a Top 5 pick? I don't understand it. Let someone else get burned by Williams at LT.

Anonymous said...

In this pass happy league, I'm warming up to Berry. . I don't believe this is a luxury pick anymore. 2 tight end sets with 2 wide outs on the same side, for one, give 4-3 Defenses fits. We can try to scheme it, and PC talks about being more of a hybrid D, but having a true cover Safety helps big time. Also we have a big need as we have no freaking Safety’s after letting Grant go!

Anonymous said...

Rob Do you think Earl Thomas will be a better FS than Berry?

Rob Staton said...

I think Thomas will have more interceptions and will likely end up with a better team from day one, so he could be better. If they both joined the Ravens tomorrow, I'd fancy Berry to have the better career.