ESPN draft guru Kiper sticking with S Berry for Bucs
Mel Kiper isn't straying from his most recent mock draft that has the Bucs taking Tennessee safety Eric Berry.
In fact, the ESPN draft analyst scoffs at talk that the No. 3 overall pick is too high for Tampa Bay to select a safety. During a conference call Wednesday, Kiper suggested Berry's impact on the Bucs might be similar to that of the Ravens' Ed Reed or the Steelers' Troy Polamalu.
"This is an important of a safety era as we've ever had,'' Kiper said. "You're seeing teams throw the ball a ton, more than they ever have. How can safety not be important?''
But the Bucs could still get a break. The St. Louis Rams haven't ruled out taking a quarterback like Oklahoma's Sam Bradford No. 1 overall. A lot of that depends on how well Bradford's shoulder injury has healed.
"I hope everybody doesn't think I would be opposed to that," Rams coach Steve Spagnoulo said of the Rams taking a quarterback with their first pick.
Right now, it appears as though the Rams will have their choice of Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamucong Suh or Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy.
“Both of those kids are outstanding players,'' Kiper said. "Because they both give you one thing – consistent productivity – and most defensive tackles don’t,” Kiper said. “Most defensive tackles had a game here or there where they weren’t quite as good and they leveled off a bit. These two guys brought it every game.”
"Everybody always says McCoy’s a better pass rusher,” Kiper said. “Well, I agree to a certain extent, but it’s not like Suh didn’t get after the quarterback.
“Suh does. He’s an outstanding bull rusher. He’s improved his technique from his junior year to his senior year. The way he plays the run, the motor that he has, the productivity was unbelievable. The leadership, the way he plays the game will set a tempo up front.
“McCoy gives you more versatility in terms of the way you can move him around. He’s a one-gap penetrator as I said, and he’ll wreak some havoc in the backfield, as will Suh.''
The Lions own the second overall pick and are almost certtain to take one of the top two defensive linemen. The Bucs, of course, would be thrilled to wind up with either Suh or McCoy.