One thing I love about scouting players is taking guesses on who could be the next late round steal of the draft. The Panthers are no stranger to this with picks like Captain Munnerlyn, Greg Hardy, and even last year finding an undrafted free agent talent in Melvin White.
This year I have done some digging and found who I think could be a steal at safety for whatever
team is smart enough to pick him. His name is Nat Berhe, a 5’10”, 190 pound safety from San Diego State University. He has been surprisingly overlooked in what I believe to be a very weak safety class.
While Berhe does not possess the prototypical size for the safety position, he makes up for it with his insatiable tenacity. His name perfectly describes his style of play: a little Nat flying all around the field making plays. When watching tapes of the Aztecs on defense, it seems as if #20 is the middle of the action in on every play.
Berhe is almost always the toughest man on the field both mentally and physically. He simply does not let his size deter him from blowing up a play and laying a massive hit on an opposing player.
Nat is a smart player who is able to disguise the defensive scheme well, and get a very good blitz off. He plays very well in a zone defense where he can move around and quickly make up ground. Berle is also elite at stopping runs in the back field. Both of these qualities should translate well for him at the next level.
While the San Diego State product is an incredible talent, he does tend to let his emotions get in the way of his football IQ, and occasionally over-pursues targets and misses tackles more frequently then fans would like to see. While his emotional edge is a great strength of his, it often times proves to be his greatest weakness. However, if drafted by the Panthers, I’m confident that it’s nothing that head coach Ron Rivera couldn’t fix along with some guidance from newly acquired veteran Roman Harper.
While Berhe is an exceptional zone defender, I can’t forget to mention the other issue I saw with him on tape: his man coverage. Berhe does not possess elite speed (4.71), and often is found getting burned by faster receivers. His size and speed are also not a good mixture going against bigger tight ends. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnCpaYa2Q94
Despite his trouble in a man-to-man defense, he can make up for it with incredible instincts and reaction time. On tape, it always amazes me how quickly he can catch back up to the target and break up plays. While he will need to adjust to the speed of the NFL, his tremendous talent will help him do just that next season.
While most have probably never heard of Nat Berhe, I encourage you all to take a couple minutes out of your day and watch this little guy go. He is certainly one of the more enjoyable players that I’ve scouted thus far. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdPQJR-vXv8
Berhe is currently slotted at about a late fifth-round pick, but could be selected by the Panthers in early sixth.
I will go out on a limb here and say that Nat Berhe will become a starting caliber player in the
league one day. It will not be right away, but on a team like ours where we have plenty of depth at safety right now, the Panthers can afford to let him to let him develop behind veteran Carolina players until he’s ready for a bigger role.