2010 NFL Draft Debate: What Should Kansas City Do with the Fifth Pick?

Chris MaierCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 31:  Safety Eric Berry #14 of the Tennessee Volunteers takes a breather during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Hokies beat the Volunteers 37-14.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

With the current buzz having Sam Bradford going No. 1 overall, the Chiefs decision at No. 5 will focus on two positions: Offensive Tackle (Russell Okung or Bryan Bulaga) or Safety (Eric Berry).  The staff of NFLDraft101 takes a look at both options.

Why the Chiefs should take the top offensive tackle.  (By Chief Scout Dan Wernery)

Remember when Kansas City went 13-3 in 2003 and had one of the best offenses in the NFL. Trent Green, Tony Gonzalez, and Priest Holmes had a lot to do with their success, but so did Willie Roaf and Will Shields. Roaf retired in 2006 and Shields retired in 2007. Since 2006 the Chiefs have only spent one draft pick between rounds 1-3 on an offensive lineman, Branden Albert in 2008. The result: the Chiefsline allowed 42 sacks.

If Sam Bradford goes to St Louis at No. 1 overall, its likely Eric Berry will be available at No. 5 overall. Berry is a safe pick and will be an impact player wherever he goes. But if Kansas City passes on Berry, then Morgan Burnett, Chad Jones and/or Nate Allen will be there in round 2. On the flip-side the offensive line talent drops off severely in round 2 especially at offensive tackle.

The Chiefs with Todd Haley as head coach and Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator are going to throw the football. Matt Cassel had ups and downs as a first year starter in Kansas City in 2009. Fourteen fumbles are a concern, but usually that is a result of a quarterback with happy feet who gets hit a lot. Branden Albert improved toward the end of last season but if KC drafted an OT, he could be moved to the right side or left guard in the Charlie Weis pass-first attack.  Top tackle Russell Okung may or may not be on the board, but Bryan Bulaga (or Anthony Davis or Trent Williams ) would all be suitable picks who could play right away. Either way, if Kansas City has two solid bookend tackles it will be much easier for the rest of the offense to fall into place.

Why the Chiefs should select safety Eric Berry at No. 5 (By Senior Editor Chris Maier)

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The Chiefs have major needs along the offensive line but after watching Branden Albert progress in the second half of the season, the team's needs are at right tackle and on the interior.   The Chiefs have needs at multiple positions including safety and wide receiver and using an early selection for another left tackle would be overkill when they should be able to use one of their two second round picks on one the top guards in round two and a right tackle in round three or later.  Further, if Okung is not the tackle on the board, offensive tackle is not likely to be the best value on the board.

Meanwhile, Eric Berry is considered the consensus top safety in the draft and one of the best safety prospects since Sean Taylor.  He has tremendous coverage skills (some say he could even play corner), is excellent in run support and has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed.   Many say a safety is not worth the fifth overall pick but playmaking safeties such as Reed, Troy Polamalu and Bob Sanders have proven to be invaluable in today's pass happy NFL.   Safeties also do not have the learning curve of other defensive positions such as defensive end or defensive tackle allowing them to make an immediate impact.

Lastly, consider the offense ranked 25th in yards in 2009 compared to the defense ranking 30th overall and you can see the defense needs even more help than the offense and when you consider the many needs of the Chiefs they need to add the best talent at a position of need and as the number three overall player on nfldraft101's top 64, Berry would also be the best player available.

Chris Maier is senior editor for nfldraft101.com .  He can be reached at cmaier@nfldraft101.com  and can be followed on twitter: nfldraft101 .   Dan Wernery is Chief Scout for nfldraft101.com and can be reached at dwernery@nfldraft101.com .