Isn’t the most patient of punchers either and will lunge into defenders off the edge, lose balance and doesn’t exhibit great hand placement on contact. Too often gets his hands too low at the point or outside the frame of pass rushers, loses balance and ends up on his toes when asked to sit into his stance and anchor. Does a nice job working to stay engaged, but isn’t real heavy handed and doesn’t play with ideal leverage. Can be bullied into the backfield and gets himself into trouble against physical rushers.
Exhibits a good initial burst out of his stance in the run game, understands angles and has the ability to quickly zone step and seal defenders away from the play. Looks natural on the move, is quickly able to get out of the second level, drop his pad level and hit a moving target. But isn’t overly dominant on contact.
Allows defenders to work their way off his blocks and doesn’t have the type of power or mental makeup to simply lock out and drive opposing linebackers into the dirt. Needs to do a better job with his hand placement on contact in the run game as well. Too often keeps his hands too low when asked to engage and can be easily swatted on at the point. However, does exhibit good body control and footwork on the move when trying to mirror on slide-down blocks or get around and reach.
Impression: A smooth, graceful blocker with good range, change of direction skills and quickness in both the run and pass game. Needs to learn to play with better hand placement and leverage. But, has the ability to mirror in space and possesses the makeup to get some looks as a potential left tackle in the NFL. Nevertheless, I think he looks more like a right tackle in a zone scheme."
Movement: Sherrod has good movement in the short area. He's fine moving left, right and backward. Where he struggles some is going forward. When Sherrod is on the move, he tends to lunge at defenders and lose leverage.
Pass blocking: Is exceptionally light on his feet with great quickness and agility. Has a very good first move to beat speed rushers to the outside. Against power rushers, Sherrod gets good knee bend to absorb and redirect. Has to get better using his hands to work inside. Struggles when stronger defenders get inside his pads and drive him back. Doesn't always finish off blocks.
Quickness: Sherrod has elite foot quickness, which is what makes him such a good pass blocker. Really fires off the snap. Doesn't get beat to the first move by defensive linemen.
Run blocking: Is solid as a run blocker. Does well holding up defensive linemen, but doesn't always overpower defenders. Properly works defenders to the inside allowing rushers to work outside. Uses his quickness to seal the outside to allow inside rushing lanes. However, Sherrod doesn't have the leg strength to power defenders backward. Could be nastier as a blocker.
Strength: Possesses only average strength. Will need to get stronger to handle power rushers in the NFL. Has an athletic frame, so you wonder how much bulk he'll be able to add. Needs to especially get stronger in his lower body.
Technique: Maintains good balance, even against powerful defenders. That's thanks to getting good knee bend. Hand usage needs refinement. Gets his arms too wide instead of keeping them in the defender's chest. Will struggle at times to pick up stunts.
Final word: Sherrod has started since his freshman season at Mississippi State. He played his first year at right tackle before moving to the left side. He's made his name as an athletic left tackle who can handle speed rushers.
Where he needs to get better is in the power aspects of the game. He doesn't drive block especially well and can be moved around by power rushers. It would also be nice to see Sherrod play with more of a mean streak and finish off more blocks."
Negatives: Doesn't get good depth in his kick step... Will overextend and lunge to reach the edge... Doesn't dominate at the POA... Not especially strong at POA, needs to improve overall playing strength... Not a natural bender, will play too upright and overextend trying to reach the corner... Base gets a little too wide, leans into some blocks... Doesn't appear to play with a lot of aggression."
Sherrod stands at 6'5'' and 305 pounds. He has a great agility for a man of his size and has been clocked as fast as 5.08 in the 40-yard dash. Sherrod has been a staple at left tackle for Mississippi State and he may be asked to protect his quarterbacks' blind side for years to come in the NFL. Anything lower than a second-round selection in the 2011 draft would be a major surprise. If Sherrod keeps up his current pace, a first-round selection is likely."
Derek Sherrod brings exceptional Fluidity, Lateral Velocity, and Range, while demonstrating dubious Power and Gravitational Integrity. As such, he's a clear Zone Blocking candidate, and a very good one, who should justify his expected 1st Round investment, provided he's drafted by the right team.
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