Eric Berry vs Taylor Mays

Eric Berry’s arch nemesis in the SEC is Tim Tebow.  Nationally his biggest rival is USC safety Taylor Mays.  Both Mays and Berry are star DBs for their respective teams.  They are compared frequently.  USC fans and Pac-10 apologists will try to convince you that Mays is the better player.  Sane, intelligent people (or me) know that Berry is hands down the better player.

By the numbers:

Mays (3 year starter) – 39 games – 112 solo tkls – 4 Ints – 18 PDs – 2 TFLs

Berry (2 year starter) – 26 games – 101 solo tkls – 12 Ints – 10 PDs – 10.5 TFLs

Clearly stats don’t always tell the whole story.  I think they do tell a major part of the story in this case.  Mays is bigger and faster than Berry.  Taylor is 6’3, 230.  He is a linebacker with DB speed.  Berry is 5’11, 203.  There isn’t anything special about him athletically.

The difference is that Berry has great football instincts and is a playmaker.  Mays has games where he looks great, but then he will disappear for long stretches.  Berry is there every game, doing everything he can to win.  He makes more plays behind the line of scrimmage.  He makes more plays in coverage.  He makes more plays when he does get hold of the ball.  Eric has 3 INT return touchdowns in his career.  Mays has 4 INTs period.  Eric averages 40 yards per INT return.  Mays has 40 total return yards in his career.  See the difference?

Mays wanted to go pro last year, but got a disappointing grade back from the NFL advisory committee.  He wasn’t the Top 10 player he hoped.  Berry’s lack of ideal size and great athletic ability may keep him out of the Top 10, but he will be picked ahead of Mays.  I’m willing to bet my TV Guide collection on it.


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