Today an article by Peter King of SI.com, was posted on arrowheadpride.com. During this article, King shed light on the draft plans (or non plans) of the Kansas City Chiefs. He also brought some facts to the table as to why teams should be weary of drafting a safety in the top 10. His facts seemed to be dead on but, I did a little searching shortly after reading the article, and I’ve come to the conclusion that his facts are indeed skewed.
Peter Kings hypothesis:
The Tennessee safety, obviously, is a rare prospect. But the history of safeties in terms of longevity and greatness at the top of the draft is very shaky. The nature of the position is smallish people throwing themselves around like linebackers, and that doesn't lend itself to long careers. The three best safeties to be drafted in the past decade --Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu and Bob Sanders -- have missed 78 games due to injury in their 21 combined NFL seasons.
While this is true, King fails to mention that the high number of missed games are solely due to Bob Sanders. Bob Sanders is 5’8 205 lbs. His particular style of play is vastly different than Polamalus. Reeds, and Berrys. Sanders is a cannon ball player who lives in the box. He isn't a play-making safety. The above mentioned safeties do play in the box on occasion, and do make the big hits, but they spend ample time in the secondary making plays as well. The numbers speak for themselves. In 6 years, Sanders has accrued only 6 INTs, 2 FFs, 3.5 Sacks, 0 TDs and 15 PDs. On the other hand, Polamalu has accrued 20 INTs, 7 FFs, 7 Sacks, 1 TD, and 70 PDs. Ed Reed with 46 INTs, 9 FFs, 5 Sacks, 6 TDs, and 97 PDs. As you can see, both Polamalu and Reed are quite different than Bob Sanders.
When it comes to Peter Kings accusation of the top safeties not having longevity, and missing games, lets look at the numbers:
Bob Sanders has missed 49 of 96 regular season games
Troy Polamalu has missed 19 of 112 regular season games
Ed Reed has missed 4 of 128 regular season games.
King again fails to mention that Bob Sanders is the culprit when it comes to missing games. He has missed more than 50% of his regular season games. King used Bob Sanders to nail his point home, knowing that his injuries would drastically sway the numbers, therefore proving his hypothesis correct. I can understand GMs and Coaches having concerns about drafting a safety in the top 5 or 10. Theres money issues, bust issues, and value issues. The one issue that shouldn't exist is health and longevity. If you look at safeties in todays league, there are many playing well into their 30’s and playing at a high level. I am ok with the Chiefs not drafting Berry. The quote by Falcons GM Demitrioff said a lot:
Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff calls the safety-at-the-top-of-the-draft debate a conundrum. "It's been on my mind a lot lately," he said, "and I realize I'm speaking out of both sides of my mouth here, but Berry's a really good player. It's been on my mind quite a bit recently. You want the good hitter with hip movement, able to turn and run, but then reality sets in. I was talking to [Kansas City GM] Scott Pioli about Berry, and I said, 'Scott, this guy's your pick.' And he said, 'You know how I feel about safeties that early.' And I understand.’
I am just not ok with the Chiefs not drafting him because of longevity concerns...