Kansas City fans have frequently seen promising safety duos take the field only to have them split apart for whatever reasons.
Perhaps the most intimidating secondary Kansas City ever mounted featured the talented Dale Carter and wily James Hasty on the corners, with Jerome Woods and Reggie Tongue sharing the safety spots.
The year was 1997 and Kansas City led the NFL by allowing an average of only 14.5 points per game.
Woods and Tongue were both drafted in ’96 (in rounds one and two respectively) and the team appeared to have cemented the backbone of their secondary.
While Woods would reach triple digit tackles repeatedly, Tongue was released prior to 2000, when he would be supplanted by third round pick, Greg Wesley. The two paired until 2005, when Woods retired.
Soon after, in 2006, KC would pick up both their eventual starting safeties in that year’s draft class.
In 2006, the Chiefs used their second round pick on Bernard Pollard and their seventh round pick Jarrad Page. These two are the most recent tandem to wreak terror deep in the secondary.
However, Pollard found his way to the Houston Texans in 2009. It was there that his career saw a resurgence, with 102 tackles and 4 interceptions (2 for touchdowns).
Page landed on the injured reserve this past season, but may have peaked in his ability anyway.
Goodbye Pollard and with an injured Page, the end has been reached for the most recent safety tandem in Kansas City.
In 2009, KC finished the season with special teams’ contributor and great team player, Jon McGraw and the grizzled, playmaking veteran, Mike Brown, as starting safeties.
While a great player to have on your squad, McGraw isn’t necessarily who the Chiefs would like starting.
Brown is a stop-gap solution. When healthy, Brown was a menace for the Chicago Bears and even this season had several interceptions where he simply knows how to put himself in a position to make a play.
But while many shrug off safeties as slower corners, most great defenses feature an electrifying playmaker at safety. Darren Sharper has played a huge role in the Saints’ Super Bowl run. Troy Polomalu did the same last year for the Steelers. Ed Reed can still single-handedly change a game for the Ravens.
Even with skilled duos, Kansas City has continued to lack this kind of playmaker.
Two youngsters and a senior are the top three safeties available in the 2010 draft.
Senior safety out of USC, Taylor Mays is a freak (compliment) of a physical specimen, but has struggled enough in coverage that there is speculation of a move to linebacker.
Earl Thomas of Texas was a redshirt sophomore who had 70 tackles, 2 interceptions and 11 passes defended this past year.
However, the most coveted, exciting safety available is Eric Berry. Nearly a sure shot top-5 pick (which is rare for a safety), the junior out of Tennessee had 72 tackles, 8.5 for loss (3 sacks) and 11 interceptions.
Compared to Ed Reed by many, Berry may be one half of KC’s next safety duo.