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Monday, March 22, 2010
How does Pioli value safeties?

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Did Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff tip off the Chiefs’ plan with their No. 5 draft pick in an interview with Sports Illustrated?

Dimitroff relayed a conversation he had with Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli. The two worked together in New England. Here is what Dimitroff told Pioli about Tennessee safety Eric Berry:

"I was talking to 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.'''

This doesn’t necessarily mean the Chiefs won’t take Berry if he’s available at No. 5. Many observers believe the top choices for Kansas City are Berry and Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung.

However, it suggests Pioli subscribes to the age-old theory that safeties are not worth a top pick. Or Pioli, a very smart guy, could be sending out false information.

I’d hope the Chiefs are open to picking a safety early in the draft. Avoiding safeties early is an outdated thought and recently, dominant safeties such as Ed Reed in Baltimore, Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh and Bob Sanders in Indianapolis transformed entire defenses. Tell Polamalu that safeties aren’t important.

Berry is the top safety prospect in several years. He can change a defense and I think he’d be well worth the No. 5 pick. Only time will tell if Pioli agrees.