Go With The Safeties … Monday Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Some might call it wacky, others could use a word like crazy, but I’ve dealt with evaluations like that before, and sometimes they’ve even been correct.

Over the weekend here at the NFL Combine I had a revelation. Maybe it’s been too much time in Lucas Oil Stadium over the last few days and too many interviews and too many adult beverages after hours and too … I’ll stop there.

I know what the Chiefs should do with at least two of their early picks in April’s 2010 NFL Draft.

They need to use their first-round choice on Tennessee safety Eric Berry. He’s the smiling guy above on the right. With one of their selections in the second, third or fourth rounds, they need to draft Florida State safety Myron Rolle. He’s the smiling guy above on the left.

Two safeties? Yeah, sounds kooky I know. But let me tell you this. After meeting and speaking with Berry and Rolle, I’m willing to roll the dice and say these two guys are locks to make it and make it big in the NFL. Over the last four days, more than 100 players have been brought to meet with the media. There have been some impressive young men, like QBs Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy were outstanding.

But nobody left an impression on me more than Berry and Rolle.

They are physically gifted. They are smart. They project common sense and leadership skills. They are tough. Did I mention smart? Remember, Rolle is a Rhodes Scholar who spent last fall at Oxford.

If Pioli/Haley would follow my plan, they could settle the safety position for the next decade, and do it with guys who can lift up the other nine guys on defense. There would be more sacks, more interceptions and more fumbles caused. The opponent’s running game would not blast the Chiefs defense the way the Titans did in ‘08 and the Browns did in ‘09.

I don’t know if these guys qualify under the “right 53″ but I bet they do. They both love football. It’s important to them. They are dedicated, intelligent and very good players. If that’s not the “right 53″ then there’s a problem with the criteria.

When asked if he was going to take part in all the drills, running and lifting when the defensive backs hit the field on Tuesday, Berry said: “This is the Combine, not a fashion show. I’m doing everything.” So is Rolle, who got up at 6 a.m. in London to lift weights and train with the Oxford Rugby team during the fall when he was pursuing his Masters in Medical Anthropology.

At Tennessee, the 5-11, 203-pound Berry won the Jim Thorpe and Jack Tatum Awards as the best college defensive back in 2009. It was his second consecutive Tatum Award. He was twice a unanimous All-America selection. The Georgia native finished his career with 245 tackles, three sacks, 14 interceptions, with 494 interception return yards and three touchdowns.

There was no defensive back better than Berry the last two seasons, maybe no better player on defense. Listen to Berry answer this question from the media horde: what would you tell a team if they asked why they should draft you?

“If you want a complete defensive back, I’m your guy,” Berry said. “I can play free or strong safety. I can play the nickel and left or right corner. I’ve played against some of the best players in the country. I played against Percy Harvin (Florida). I picked off last year’s No. 1 pick Matt Stafford (Georgia). I’ve hit Knowshon Moreno (Georgia).

“I’m good character guy off the field. I was voted sophomore captain by my teammates and then with a new coaching staff I was voted captain as a junior.

“I think I’m the best p layer in the draft. I bring a lot to the table. I can do pretty much anything a coach asks me too. You don’t have to bring in the nickel package for me. I can cover the slot. As soon as I stepped on campus, I was a starter. I’ve never missed a game, never missed a snap.”

It all sounds cocky in print but it wasn’t delivered in that manner. Rather, it was said as a matter of fact and it’s hard to argue with Berry’s assessment. Most NFL teams have him ranked as a top five player. He’s up there with Suh, McCoy, Bradford, QB Jimmy Clausen and OT Russell Okung. If he’s still available with the fifth pick, the Chiefs would have to take him there if they wanted him.

Rolle is not rated quite as high, especially given the fact he did not play in ‘09 as he was busy at Oxford with his studies. That’s led to questions about how serious he wants to play football. His goal is to ultimately become a neurosurgeon and he has the grades, background and intelligence to get into any med school in the country, make that world.

But Rolle is very convincing when he talks about his plan to play football for about 10 or 12 years, and then go to med school, where it will take him another dozen years to achieve his goals in the field of medicine.

“Football has been part of my life since I was six years old,” Rolle said. “I want it (a pro football career.) I want it as much as anybody who is out here this week. I’m here to prove that during the drills and when I talk to the teams. This is a very important time in my life and I’m looking forward to stepping up to the challenge.”

At Florida State, Rolle played in 38 games over three seasons, with 35 starts. He finished with 206 total tackles, one sack and one interception. He was known for his hitting more than his ball hawking. At 6-2, 218 pounds, he brings a wallop.

And he graduated in just 2.5 years with a 3.76 GPA and a degree in exercise science. Rolle also completed all of the requirements for a pre-med student.

“I think my pursuits academically have helped me in football,” Rolle said. “You learn discipline, you learn structure, you learn time management, you learn organization. As a football player, those are things that you need to be great.”

Yes, Rolle has big goals in life. One of those is to play in the NFL.

“Football is part of what I am,” Rolle said. “I can demonstrate to them (NFL teams) in these next few months my love of football and my desire with my actions. Coming here for the Senior Bowl, coming here for the Combine, the workouts I’m involved with six days a week … I can tell them, but they can see by the steps I’m taking. I want to play football. I’m not done.”

OK, I know this isn’t going to happen. I’m aware the Chiefs have needs far greater than safety, although they certainly need help on the back line as well.

But when you meet young men like Eric Berry and Myron Rolle, and then you watch tape of them playing at the highest level of college football and do it with excellence – it would be a wonderful combination to lead the Chiefs into the next decade.


The need was speed on Sunday down on the playing surface and there were some impressive numbers turned in by the skill position guys who were going through those drills.

The fastest time of the Combine so far was turned in by Clemson WR Jacoby Ford, who was timed at 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That’s the second fastest time since 2000. Notre Dame WR Golden Tate was timed at 4.36. K-State’s Brandon Banks nailed a run at 4.37 seconds. Among the running backs, California’s Jahvid Best turned in a 4.35 run and Clemson’s C.J. Spiller was right behind at 4.37 seconds.

Most impressive however, was the 40-yard time turned in by QB Tim Tebow (above). He finished in 4.72 seconds. For his size, that’s remarkable. He also turned in a vertical leap of 38.5 and he did the three cones drill in 6.66 seconds, the fourth best time of the day.

The big guys were lifting and Georgia DT Jeff Owen ripped off 44 reps on the bench press with 225 pounds. Suh had 32, while McCoy had just 26 reps.


New Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin announced over the weekend that former Chiefs safety Sammy Knight (right) will join his team as a graduate assistant coach.

Knight played his college ball at USC, as did two of his brothers. He then played 12 seasons in the NFL with the Saints, Dolphins, Chiefs, Giants and Jaguars. During his two seasons (2005-06) with the Chiefs, Knight started 33 games at strong safety, including the ‘06 playoffs against the Colts. In those two seasons, he had 205 total tackles, four sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles. Knight also returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown against Washington in ‘05.

Grad assistant is an entry level job in coaching. Knight has all the tools to be a very good coach, as he was able to play for a dozen seasons in the NFL despite the fact he wasn’t very fast. When it came to angles and the like, Knight was outstanding. Plus he had a nose for the ball as he finished his career with 42 interceptions.

41 Responses to “Go With The Safeties … Monday Cup O’Combine”

  • March 1, 2010  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    I’m sure you’re right Bob and it isn’t going to happen. However, I like your thinking and we could certainly do worse (and have) couldn’t we? However, that big, lean tackle could solidify a trouble spot for a long time as well.

  • March 1, 2010  - ThunderChief says:

    Interesting comments on the Safeties. I’ll more than trust Bob’s evaluation and now the real question remains as to availability at #5 overall. A QB probably has to be taken in the top 4 picks for Berry to fall to #5.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I’m beginning to agree, Bob. We should take Berry if he falls to us…and I think he will. I know, a lot of people say #5 is too high to pick a Safety. Who cares? Take the best player available at a position of need, and I believe that player will be Eric Berry.

    Of course, we have other needs as well…and I don’t want those ignored. But, I agree with your assessment, Bob…Berry will “make it big in the NFL”. And I want him to do it wearing a Chiefs uniform.

  • March 1, 2010  - abyssmalnbk says:

    i agree wholehartedly… if i had it my way it would go like this:

    1. eric berry fs
    2. sergio kindle olb
    2. brandon spikes ilb
    3. jd walton oc
    4. torell troup nt
    5. jacoby ford wr
    5. joique bell rb
    5. myron rolle ss

  • March 1, 2010  - Stiv says:

    I wouldn’t be upset if the Chiefs take Berry with the 5th pick, tho I could see them going in other directions too.

  • March 1, 2010  - ThunderChief says:

    Another thought on this draft process. If Joe Haden lights it up with a 4.3-something in the 40 and performs well in the other drills, as I suspect he WILL, teams will again be re-setting their boards to include him in their top 5 picks.

    Might the Chiefs be one of those teams? Regardless, either Clausen or Bradford will have to still be on the board for another team to trade up to the #5 overall slot and I’m still seeing that as a viable outcome if both Haden and Berry are viewed as top 5 picks.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I hope we’re not one of those teams that re-adjust their “board” because of the Combine. I believe Pioli had said as much…and I hope he holds to it.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    This all makes for interesting conversation and debate. But the thing is…we really won’t start getting any kind of clear picture until Free Agency gets underway. A lot of teams needs will change, including ours. Hopefully ours will, anyway.

  • March 1, 2010  - el cid says:

    In turn, Carl P was in love with Dorsey as early as Nov before the draft. While serviceable, no one is mistaking him for an all pro. Combine or your own scouts or what you see, a cold business and need to stay that way. Cunningham had that problem when he wanted a player, he would want to “coach him up – just get him” and that never worked out to well.

    Chiefs needs to get an impact player not like last year guys.

  • March 1, 2010  - el cid says:

    Missed your last post, Mad Chief. John Clayton the lack of a CBA means no minimum level of spending on salaries. Lots of veteran will go unhired and clubs will lower the money spent on players. Maybe as much as 30 mil to go into the owners pocket. Many clubs may chose to ignore free agency and sign no one. We will have to see if the Chiefs are active or not.

  • March 1, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    Berry was my 1st choice way back in Nov, and that hasn’t changed. If he’s there and the Chiefs pass I’ll be disappointed.

    Berry, Hayden, or McClain in this order would be my preference with a leery eye on (damn guys name escapes me now) big NT outta Bama as 4th possibility.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I think we’ll be fairly active in FA. I don’t know how many “big names” we’ll try to sign…but, I think we’ll see a few starters brought in. Hopefully. Darren Sproles is at the top of my wish list. And we can’t rule out the possibility of a trade or two, either.

    I just hope we don’t see a repeat of last year, where we’re bringing in a bunch of guys that nobody else wanted. It didn’t work out too well for us then…and I doubt it would work out any better this time around.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    JohnNdallas says:
    “Berry was my 1st choice way back in Nov, and that hasn’t changed. If he’s there and the Chiefs pass I’ll be disappointed.”

    And that could very well happen, too. Hard to say. Pioli is definitely tough to read…and we could go in several different directions. We really have no idea what he might be thinking, and probably won’t until the pick is actually made. And if we’re lucky…we won’t be saying a collective “WTF?” when the name is read.

    But really, I don’t see us NOT getting a good player at #5. Not this year.

  • March 1, 2010  - jimbo says:

    Berry is a very good choice & Rolle is no slouch. Even their smiles looks intelligent.
    MadChief brought up FA & how that can change our drafting needs. He is correct on many counts. We have to pick up some quality FAgents, we have too many holes to fill & the draft alone just can’t fill them all. I don’t necessarily want to exchange draft picks for FA either, I want Clark to open up his checkbook, which he eluded to Scott Pioli not long ago. This is a very good year to spend some money on quality players. Not next year or the year after that, this year…
    If we can add 6-10 core players this year, we can say good bye to mediocrity for many years to come.
    Go Chiefs.

  • March 1, 2010  - SG says:

    “…Sammy Knight (right) will join his team as a graduate assistant coach.”

    I hope Sammy covers his backside and protects his own credibility. Lane Kiffin is not anywhere on my list of “top character coaches” to play for (and not just because LK is a former Raider), whereas Sammy seems to have some level of credibility as a NFL player.

  • March 1, 2010  - el cid says:

    No biggie, Mad Chief, but “NOT getting a good player at #5″? What happened with the #3 pick in 09?? T. Jackson may develope but is he already a “good player”? We can only determine what the Chiefs have done based on results.

    Pioli picked Jackson for a team that was 2-14, was Jackson the “impact player” the team needed. Now most are saying we need an impact player this year, what happened last year?

    Lots of folks want a OT. Why? Is Albert not good enough to be the team LT for years to come? On another site some guys want a TE in 2nd round, didn’t we see that will get no superbowls when we had the best TE in the history of the NFL? It gets back to, until Pioli decides what direction to go, there is no safe pick, no impact guy for the Chiefs.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Last years draft class was nowhere near as good as this years, for one. What players drafted high last year played well? Did any of them make an “impact”?

    D-linemen historically do not make much noise their first year. This will be the year when we start to find out what kind of player Jackson is. He also has Romeo Crennel now. If Crennel can’t turn this kid into something…then I doubt if anyone can. We’ll see.

    With the talent level of this years draft class…I still say there’s no way we won’t get a really good player at #5. The only question is, at what position?

  • March 1, 2010  - Danny W says:

    I hope we fill needs. I wont be too disappointed if the Chiefs pick a big time Left Tackle over Berry even though he is a game changer. As long as they don’t reach way down and grab Dan Williams a nose tackle or Terrance Cody out of Alabama way up there at number five over Eric Berry, Okung,Rolondo McClain, Bugula, Dez, Bryant, Joe Hayden, or even C.J. Spiller to fill up some one that counts as one of there guys. There is no way Tyson Jackson was the best player on the board last year all the way up at number three overall. Just don’t make a giant reach. Cody will be there in round 2.

  • March 1, 2010  - Mark says:

    As long as the Chiefs don’t stupidly take a LT, I’ll be OK. They don’t need a LT. McClain, Berry, Williams, Bryant, Haden, in that order, are the players we should be looking at, and any would be a good choice. A LT would be foolish, since we already have a good young one, and you don’t move those guys for a maybe.

  • March 1, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    I agree Danny on the reach. Thanks for help on the name (Cody) Chiefs desperately need a NT but I have serious concerns about Cody, but if by some chance Pioli and the coaches come to a consensus that he’s one of the “right 53″ I wouldn’t be mad at em for it.
    But I don’t think there is much of a chance at all of him slipping to the second round, too many teams looking for a 34 NT, it has become the latest fad in the NFL.

  • March 1, 2010  - PnS says:

    What……ah….. what…… has happened to the coolaid fans my….. my.I have read all of these post & the one thing that is commen in the posts.Is…… finaly some fans are starting to look at last years draft with the same cold eyes as us.No more projects/reach’es/maybe’s can we at least draft a future probowl player in this draft .

  • March 1, 2010  - Blake says:

    Bob I wish you were right and the Chiefs would draft both of these guys but I read somewhere that Pioli wouldnt like a player like Rolle because football isnt at the top of his mind. I agree I think both will be great players, both are smart and fast and leaders. I wish KC would draft both but I have my doubts.

  • March 1, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    I’d really like to see KC land Gerheart with one of their #2s. Any thoughts, I heard some say he may be there in the 3rd but I’m skeptical.

  • March 1, 2010  - ThunderChief says:


    From what I’ve been reading and seeing, Gerhart is somewhere in the mid 2d although his 4.53 40 time at the Combine helped him a bit. He would be a nice piece for the Chiefs were he still be sitting there with their second 2d round pick. Ryan Matthews of Fresno State would be another value pick at that slot and fill a need in adding the thunder to Jamaal Charles’ lightning.

    With a nod to Bob’s choice, I’m now on board with Berry at #5 overall but wouldn’t be disappointed with Haden, especially if he burns it up at the Combine. McClain electing to not work out at all at the Combine lowers my grade on him from a competitive point of view.

    I think NT Cody might fall to the Chiefs in the early 2d round but if he doesn’t, OLB Jerry Hughes of TCU or ILB Brandon Spikes would be okay as well. Somewhere in here, though, a WR has to be targeted and Golden Tate would be hard to pass in the early second, if he lasts that long.

  • March 1, 2010  - SG says:

    “I’m now on board with Berry at #5…”

    So who do you want with those two picks in the 2nd round? And does it have any significant impact if Iupati or Pouncey are not picked in the 2nd round? Is Cody or Spikes…or Tate…more important to get than those two guys on the O-line if they’re there? Shall we “do nothing” as we have in past years…wait until 4th or 5th round to get anybody and develop them and hope for success in 5 years?

  • March 1, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Well, like I said before…it’s really hard to tell right now what our needs will be on Draft Day. With FA starting this Friday, we will likely be filling a few positions of need well ahead of the draft. That is, hopefully we will. Because there’s no freakin’ way we can draft all the help we need.

  • March 1, 2010  - ThunderChief says:


    So many needs and so many scenarios that make sense, as there’s no fixing all the personnel ills of the Chiefs in one draft. If you’re asking for my top 3 picks at #36 and #50, i.e., my ‘board’ based on BPA/Need/Profile I’d go here:

    36 overall:

    1) Cody NT
    2) Golden Tate WR
    3) Brandon Spikes ILB

    50 overall:

    1) Matthews, RB
    2) LaFell, WR
    3) Asamoah, OG

    I don’t think Iupati or Pouncey make it out of the first round, thus their non-inclusion for second round consideration. If one or the other DID, I’d move them up right behind Cody at #36 overall.

    There are some OL guys that could/should be there in the 3rd round to consider as well like Mike Johnson, OG from ‘Bama, or a Matt Tennant OC from BC. As it shakes out, I have a feeling the 3rd round will be the time the Chiefs get started on their Oline. Again, soooo many needs and so few picks.

  • March 1, 2010  - Alex(The Great) says:

    Berry is the clear cut guy at #5! If Pioli misses again in the top 5(and the rest of the 2010 draft)this year…he will be considered the biggest BUST in Chiefs history!

  • March 1, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    Alex(The Hate) says:

    “I hate Pioli. I hate Haley. I hate Matt Cassel”

    Are you even a fan of this team? You never have anything positive to say about anything.

  • March 1, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    TChief I’m with you 100% on McClain, Pioli may have never been very high on the guy but if he were, I bet he’s put a big red mark by his name now.

  • March 1, 2010  - el cid says:

    Personal likes, #1 impact player, not from LSU or OT, #2a Center has to be an immediate starter, #2b WR, as fast as greased lightning. Somewhere near the end Kafka, QB. Heck I will let Haley fill in the rest.

  • March 1, 2010  - Jody says:

    I doubt it would happen–but I wish it would.

  • March 1, 2010  - Kevin B. says:

    I think I disagree with Bob on taking 2 safeties with high picks. I don’t think the Chiefs are developed enough to start taking multiple safeties as high picks. I don’t care how good the safety is, if the QB has all day to throw, he is going to find someone. We need to get a pass rush going on. Also, I think while our defense was lousy last year, they were on the field most of the games. I think we would improve quicker with a better offense which would help the D out a lot. We need some O-line help. We also need some recievers. Granted shut down safeties and corners are awesome, but our first priority in my mind is helping Matt Cassell and the offense stay on the field.

    And using 2 safeties as high picks means that they will basically be making tackles all day because our linebacking corps are shot, along with our defensive line. Our secondary has a couple of decent corners. I think we would be unbalanced with a great secondary and otherwise lousy defense. Top three picks, Lets get Okung, a dynamic pass rusher, and a top reciever with our first three picks….

    And let’s trade Dorsey for a D-lineman or some picks, as his talents are far more suited to the 4-3, and while we are at it snag Julius Peppers.

  • March 1, 2010  - Roscoe says:

    Here we go!! we’ve been able to fined OL. help in the past. 2nd, 3rd, & 4th rounds. Go for a playmaker in 1st if Berry is there go with it if not D. Bryant WR. go with the playmaker. The way Haley went through WR.I think he will go there!!!

  • March 2, 2010  - Vess says:

    I would take Berry or either Davis or Okung as the first pick those are the glaring weaknesses the Chiefs have . The second would be linebacker and the other second choice would be reciever. I would love to take Cam Thomas in the third if he is still there for NT.

  • March 2, 2010  - Big Vess says:

    I would take Berry or either Davis or Okung as the first pick those are the glaring weaknesses the Chiefs have . The second would be linebacker and the other second choice would be reciever. I would love to take Cam Thomas in the third if he is still there for NT.

  • March 2, 2010  - Dan says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I love this time of year!! I would LOVE to get Berry, but I’m not the guy in charge of the draft so I will be happy with whom ever the Chiefs pick!

  • March 2, 2010  - SG says:

    “There are some OL guys that could/should be there in the 3rd round…”

    Personally I’m thinking Mr. Cody will be gone at #36 due to his weighing in at 354. If we can’t get Pouncey or Iupati at #36, then we’ll be asking Mr. Pioli “Where’s the BEEF?”

  • March 2, 2010  - Danny W says:

    With the emergence of RT Ryan O’Callahan and and the good play of Wade Smith at right guard, the Chiefs need be concerned about two other players center with Rudy and right guard with Waters going on the decline in his final years. I don’t care what we do with Brandon Albert I am confident in the young man flourishing were ever you put him on the line. Nose Tackle is another big one. I think offensive line is first because Clark Hunt will want to protect his most expensive asset. So with 2b we need a wide out of some kind if one of those two needs are not filled. After that draft running backs, potential return men Rolle at safety just cover your bases is all I am asking. I know it seems like I’m saying lets go 8-8 but that is a far sight better than 4-12

  • March 2, 2010  - ED says:

    Russell Okung is just too good to pass up. IF the o-line is ignored for another defensive player we’re going to suffer this year. In any other draft it would make sense to take Berry but not this one. The need is too great on the o-line to take Berry. We have to take Okung to solidify the o-line. Maybe if we had an explosive offense that scored 20plus a game it would be good to take Berry but not when you’re the Chiefs with a struggling o-line that couldn’t even get a yard or two on most 3 and shorts. We led the league in that statistic guys. O-line no doubt would better serve this team with the #5 pick.

  • March 3, 2010  - SG says:

    “Russell Okung is just too good to pass up.”

    The question I have is…is Okung a zone-blocking guy? If so, is he just too good to make it past #4? If my understanding is right, our old adversary Coach Shanahan is bringing his O-Line coaches up there to DC to install that zone-blocking scheme that served the Donkeys so well while he was HC. Is Okung is so good, with Chris Samuels retiring and the rest of O-line in shambles, I really don’t think Okung will make it to us at #5.

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