Eric Berry vs Taylor Mays: The Seattle Seahawks' Offseason Conundrum
Do you think there's any team stupid enough to trade their first round pick to the Seahawks for Big Play Babs (excluding Ruskell and da Bears due to a lack of a first round pick)? If that were to happen we'd be able to draft the left tackle of the future and build the defense around not just Mays or Berry, but both Mays and Berry. Now let's come back to reality.
With the release of Deon Grant, it is no longer a question of WILL the Seahawks pick a safety in the draft, but WHICH safety will the Seahawks pick in the draft. There's a very good chance that Eric Berry will still be around by the time the Seahawks make their first selection, and unless Al Davis makes a trade for another first round pick before the Hawks' second selection Mays is guaranteed to still be around when Seattle picks at 14.
Everyone who follows the Seahawks knows that the biggest team need right now is offensive tackle. The question then comes down to, will we use our first pick to address offensive tackle or will we use our second pick? The answer to that question lies in the question, Berry or Mays?
The point of this article is not to tell you which of the two the Seahawks will pick. That's too easy. If Berry's available at No. 6 we'll take Berry, pass on Okung, and probably pick up Williams or Bulaga at No. 14. If Berry is gone we'll take Okung or Williams at No. 6 and pick up Mays at No. 14.
The real point of this article is to bring to your attention, as Seattle fans, just how stoked you should all be that come draft day we will have one of these guys. First let's take a look at Eric Berry.
Eric Berry is a statistical beast. In three years he collected nine more interceptions and one more forced fumble than Mays was able to pull off in four seasons. He's got great hands, he will make big plays week in and week out, and most importantly he's got great defensive instincts and intelligence.
I know everyone's heard the comparison to Ed Reed, but that's no overexaggeration. He will be a great safety immediately and will be an elite safety within a year or two.
If Berry's the direction the Hawks decide to go, we will have a defensive playmaking anchor that will make any quarterback think twice before throwing the ball his way. He will make players around him better because of this. The extra time that quarterback's debating whether or not to throw it Berry's way is extra time for our pass rush to get in there and strip the ball loose.
If Berry's gone at six and Mays is the way we go, DO NOT BE DISSAPOINTED! If you remember the '03 NFL Draft you'll know why you shouldn't be. Statistics are great, don't get me wrong, but in '03 the guy who had all the picks and all the tackles and all the stats was a guy named Ken Hamlin.
The guy who didn't quite have the stats, but had lovely hair, was a guy named Polamalu.
It's almost haunting how similar Mays' and Polamalu's history are. Both played for USC, both players' stats fell off in their last seasons with the Trojans, both were injured a game in their final season, and just in case you didn't catch it the first time, both started for USC as a safety. That alone is good enough a reason for me to be excited and expect great things from him in the NFL.
Berry is a statistical beast, but Mays is a physical beast. With blistering speed, grizzly size, and the power to take down a small building, Mays will have a different effect on offenses than Berry.
While Berry will make the defense better by getting in the head of a quarterback, Mays will make the defense better by getting in the heads of the tight ends and receivers. All it takes is one hit from Mays. After that every time a receiver goes into his zone to go get a ball he'll be worried about what happens after he touches the ball.
Even a flinch on third down by a receiver is enough to be a game changer and that's what Mays brings to the table with his hitting. I'd also like to see him blitz more with his speed. We wouldn't need a defensive end in the draft if we opted to send him every once in a while.
If you asked me who I'd rather have I'd pick Mays. For stupid reasons though. I like watching good clean hits. The last time a Seahawk made a hit that caused your brain to hurt just from watching it on TV was Darryl Williams de-cleating a Raiders receiver. The time before that it wasn't even a defender. It was Steve Largent's revenge on the dude who knocked him out in the teams' previous meeting. It's about time our defense got mean and made people afraid to cross the line of scrimmage.
To be honest, I'll be stoked either way and so should you. Both will have excellent NFL careers. If you like watching people get de-cleated, pray that Berry is gone by No. 6. If you like watching the Seahawks run back touchdowns on defense, then Berry's your guy. Either way, the Seahawks defense will be better in every dimension with the addition of one of these guys.
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