Eric Berry Won’t Drop Past the Buccaneers

February 26, 2010 – 10:35 am by timgunter

Every year there are plenty of college football players that decide to forgo their remaining years of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.  Most of them, in my opinion, have made the wrong decision and should have stayed in school to polish their skills, but every now and then there is an exception.  This year’s exception is strong safety Eric Berry.  He is a three-year starter out of Tennessee that exploded onto the college football scene with five interceptions as a true freshman.  Berry game and ball hawking skills have been compared to Ed Reed.  Both players play the game with intelligence and have an unbelievable knack for baiting the quarterback into making bad decisions and capitalizing on their mistakes.

There is no wrong decision to be made with Berry.  He is a lock to be a top-five pick and a Pro Bowl player in just a few years.  There hasn’t been a safety/cornerback picked in the top-five since Charles Woodson was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the fourth overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft.  You can bet that most teams will have Berry at the top of the list.  It is just a matter of if he will be there for the team to select him.  My projection will be that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select him as the third overall pick.

Eric Berry joined WCNN in Atlanta to talk about what he is doing to prepare for the NFL Draft, some of the things he learned from Monte Kiffin, and whether he pays any attention to the mock drafts

What he is doing to prepare himself for the NFL Draft:

“I kind of just have been having to pinch myself every now and then.  This is something that I have been waiting for all of my life.  So you just kind of feel like you are dreaming.  Once you snap back in you get back to work and just start working and trying to get better and better.”

On the defensive backs performing last at the Combine:

“Yeah man.  They have got to look and think about it.  They have us sitting around.  I feel like Tuesday, that is the time that we have to shine.  I feel like Tony Villani, who has been down here training me, has done a great job getting me ready to perform.”

What he is looking forward to the most at the Combine:

“I am really looking forward to sitting down and talking to the NFL guys, the GM’s that make the decisions and really showing them how much I really know about football and show them what I can bring to the table.  Once I finish up with these interviews hopefully they will have me on their board.  Who ever it is.”

What he thinks he can improve on to make his stock rise even higher:

“Really I just feel like if I sit down to talk with the coaches and the GM’s and show them on the board and draw up our defense and what we ran and draw up some of their defenses and what they ran and show them my knowledge of the game.  Obviously there is going to be different techniques in the NFL, I feel like I will learn that with some time.  As far as coaches and people making decisions and getting to know me as a person I feel like I will be able to sell myself pretty well.”

Some of the things he learned from Monte Kiffin:

“One of the biggest things that I learned from Monte was actually getting into the mind of defensive coordinators.  When we are in meetings and things like that he doesn’t tell you the play that he is calling.  He actually tells you why he called the play and what situations he is going to call it so you can actually get in the mind of a defensive coordinator and you kind of see yourself anticipating what he going to call on third and short or second and long and things like that.  I think that is what he taught me the most probably.”

Whether he pays any attention to the mock drafts:

“A little bit, but not really getting into that.  Really focused on getting down here and this weekend and talking to the coaches and seeing what they really have to say.  A lot of the mock draft stuff could be true or couldn’t be true so I really stay out of that and really try to get it from the direct source.  Obviously if I do go to Tampa, I know their whole playbook so that would be a plus.  If I just take care of what I need to take care of and get ready to play someone is going to have to get me.”

Listen to Eric Berry on WCNN in Atlanta with Buck and Kincade

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