After an Up and Down Career at Pitt, Aaron Berry Talks Football with DraftNasty;
March 29th, 2010 By Special to DraftNasty
Aaron Berry, the All-Big East cornerback from Pittsburgh, was one of the biggest names bypassed for this year's NFL Combine. He is considered one of the top raw athletes in college football. Berry put up average numbers (28 tackles, nine pass breakups, one interception) this year, but quarterbacks rarely threw in his direction. Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate described Berry as the toughest defensive back he faced all year. "He's not the biggest kid in the world, but he's tough and he will tackle," Pittsburgh secondary coach Jeff Hafley told ESPN.com. "I remember two years ago at West Virginia, he made two open-field tackles on Steve Slaton when it looked like Slaton was gone. But he got him down." Berry is talking with a few NFL teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, about a private workout but nothing is confirmed yet.
Q. How did you feel about being skipped over for the NFL combine?
A. I was very surprised at first. Then I sat down and looked at it closely, and decided to use it as motivation. There were NFL teams that didn't feel like I had the big year that I was capable of having, as far as making big-time plays. I didn't get beat or anything. Nobody caught any touchdowns on me or anything. They just felt like with my potential, I could've made more big plays than I made out there. I think that's what kept me out.
Q. You missed two games as a senior with a shoulder injury. How is the right shoulder doing?
A. Actually, not getting invited to the combine helped me. It gave me time to get stronger for the bench press. That's what I wanted to do, to show them that my shoulder wasn't an issue. That's what a lot of NFL teams had been asking me. My shoulder is fine. It's great. I did 11 reps on my Pro Day. I got stronger and I'm going to keep pushing.
Q. There was some talk earlier this year that you might be the fastest cornerback in college football. You ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds on your Pro Day. Are you the fastest?
A. The fastest? I couldn't answer that. As far as game speed, I feel like I am up there with anybody. But I haven't seen all the corners run, so I couldn't really say.
Q. Your college head coach, Dave Wannstedt, is a former NFL head coach. Does that give you any advantages for the NFL Draft?
A. I think that helps me a lot, playing under Coach Wannstedt in a pro-type system that we ran on defense. It might help put me ahead of some other guys with being able to understand what's coming next in the NFL.
Q. Wannstedt has always been very demanding of you. What type of feedback is he giving you about the NFL Draft?
A. Yeah, he gave me feedback. He said my range is so big that I could go in the third or fourth round, but I could also drop to the sixth or seventh. He said my range was pretty big, and for me to do as well I could in any (private) workouts coming up. He said to be ready for that, keep your head up, and keep your fingers crossed.
Q. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted in an article that you have been suspended several times throughout your career for off-the-field incidents, including the final week of spring drills for an "undisclosed violation of team rules." Anything you want to clear up for NFL teams on DraftNasty.com?
A. I'm a good kid. My agent said he had some people asking me if I was in a gang or hanging out with the wrong people. I did have some friends that got into some trouble, but I had to shy away from them... As far as myself, I am not into that. I don't hang out on the streets. I've made some mistakes, but I'm a real good kid and I come from a real good family. I'm just ready to go out and show what I can do. I look forward to meeting NFL coaches and general managers to show what type of person I am. Teams will get to see my personality and character.
Q. There's another Berry who is considered the No. 1 defensive back for this year's Draft -- Tennessee's Eric Berry (no relation). Have you checked out Eric?
A. I've never met Eric, but I've seen him. He's a freak. That's what separates him from a lot of defensive backs in the country. He's a go-getter. He attacks the ball, and is a ball hawk. He takes chances and makes big plays. That's what makes him a great player.
Q. How are you feeling about the NFL Draft?
A. I feel good, I feel good. I'm very much anticipating it. I felt like with my athleticism, I could be up there with the top guys. But sometimes, things don't happen that way. I'm not going to dwell on where I get picked at. If I get drafted in the seventh round or wherever, it doesn't bother me. As long as I get into an NFL camp and show what I can do, I'm pretty sure I'll make the team.
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