When Eric Berry and Earl Thomas were taken early in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it was believed the two could quickly become the future of the safety position in the NFL. One year in, draft analysts were proven right as both players developed quickly into impact players for the Chiefs and Seahawks respectively.
Then came Berry's season-ending injury in 2011. The ensuing surgery and rehab involved a considerable amount of time and the team's hopes in the offseason revolved largely around the ability of Berry's ability to return to form -- along with Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles.
Six games into the 2012 season, it's clear that Berry has yet to settle back into his old habits of providing the Chiefs a game-changing talent in the secondary.
In 2010, Berry had a stellar rookie season with 72 tackles, 10 passes defended, 4 interceptions along with 1 forced fumble. This year, he has 1 pass defended and 22 tackles. While the season will obviously add to these totals, even the stat sheet verifies what the eye also tells: that Berry is not the same player on the field.
"He doesn't look like the same guy as when he entered the NFL," said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc over at Bill Williamson's AFC West blog. "It really has stood out as a coverage player and I think teams are targeting him. He just isn't moving as explosively or crisply. He also isn't showing up in big on tape in other facets. ... I think he had special movement skills before Can he get those back? I would expect it to happen."
Williamson is positive in his expectations of Berry, and that's likely the best position to take. Such a devastating injury takes time to come back from, and the battle involves much more than just the physical side.