Berry and the 2010 draft

At least one noted pro football expert believes Tennessee safety Eric Berry will bolt following his junior season and be the second player picked in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Andrew Perloff of SI.com, the website for Sports Illustrated Magazine, has posted his projections under the heading "(Way early) 2010 NFL Mock Draft."

Perloff believes the hapless Detroit Lions will post the worst record in pro football again in 2009-10 but trade the No. 1 draft pick to the St. Louis Rams. The Rams, he thinks, will use the first overall pick to select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

Perloff believes the Oakland Raiders, picking second, will then tab Berry. For this to happen, of course, Berry will need to improve his 40-yard dash time. Raiders owner Al Davis, who is obsessed with speed, made headlines at last weekend's 2009 draft by selecting the fastest receiver (Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey) in Round 1 and the fastest safety (Ohio U's Michael Mitchell) in Round 2.

Here's how Perloff explains the Raiders' selection of Berry at No. 2:

"Will the new Raiders coach be able to talk Al Davis out of workout wonder Taylor Mays? This is very high for a safety, but Berry is special."

The rest of Perloff's top five consists of Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (to Tampa Bay) with pick 3, Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung (to St. Louis) with pick 4 and Southern Cal safety Taylor Mays (to San Francisco) with pick 5.

Eric Berry is the first of 13 SEC players Perloff projects to be claimed in Round 1 of the 2010 draft, including four Florida Gators.

The other 12 are Florida cornerback Joe Haden (to Seattle) with pick 12, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (to Washington) with pick 13, Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap (to Minnesota) with pick 15, Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody (to Atlanta) with pick 16, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes (to Miami) with pick 17, Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy (to Seattle) with pick 18, LSU receiver Brandon LaFell (to Baltimore) with pick 20, Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley (to Dallas) with pick 23, Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead (to San Francisco) with pick 25, Alabama cornerback Javier Arenas (to Pittsburgh) with pick 28, Bama linebacker Rolando McClain (to the Giants) with pick 29 and LSU offensive tackle Ciron Black (to Philadelphia) with pick 31.

SI.com also features a ranking of the top 45 NFL Draft prospects for 2010 without respect to which team will select them. This list, compiled by Tony Pauline of TFYdraft.com, shows Berry at No. 15.

Other SEC players on Pauline's list are as follows:

Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy at No. 1

Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap at No. 9

Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody at No. 10

Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes at No. 13

Berry at No. 15

Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain at No. 18

Florida cornerback Joe Haden at No. 20

Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley at No. 24

Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins at No. 26

Alabama cornerback Javier Arenas at No. 27

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow at No. 30

Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead at No. 32

LSU receiver Brandon LaFell at No. 39

LSU offensive tackle Ciron Black at No. 41


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