Has improved his patience and hand placement as a puncher this season, quickly getting in and under opposing defenders and doing a better job sticking though contact. Does a nice job working to stay engaged, is playing with better leverage this season and can get under defenders while keeping his frame clean through pass pro. But, can still be bullied into the backfield at times and gets himself into trouble against physical rushers because of his higher pad level.
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 a little lower, but has the ability to mirror in space and possesses the makeup of a starting left tackle in the NFL."
Run Blocking: Comes off the ball too high and lacks the pad level and power to consistently knock defenders off the line. Good quickness and hand strength to turn and seal off defenders from the play. Good recognition to release from double-team and get out to the second level. Scouts would like to see him finish blocks with more authority before releasing.
Pulling/Trapping: Good initial quickness to release to the second level, but has only average agility to re-direct in the open field. Locates his target, but has to do a better job of anticipating where the defender is going. Isn't fluid enough to change direction and hit the moving target. Too often extends his arms, "catching" the linebacker, which could result in penalty flags when playing against NFL-caliber athletes. Good trap blocker due to his initial quickness, big frame and recognition.
Initial Quickness: Good, though not elite, initial quickness off the snap. Has the agility and long arms to handle most right defensive ends (and thus remain at left tackle), but due to the fact that he is a bit top-heavy and lacks elite balance, is susceptible to quick jab-steps outside and spin or counter moves back to the inside. Is quick enough in the running game to turn and seal off the defender, creating a wall from which the running back can bounce off from.
Downfield: Gives good effort to block downfield. Above-average straight-line speed, though his average balance keeps him from being as effective at the second level as his speed and size would indicate. Gets in the way of defenders and has the wingspan to alter their path, but struggles re-directing his charge.
Intangibles: Was one of 16 players to win the storied National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFF) Award, which includes a post-graduate $18,000 scholarship. Earned his degree in business with a 3.54 GPA. Is the third Bulldog to win the award and the first since 1989. Team leader voted a captain in 2010. A four-year member of the M-Club, MSU's student-athlete community service organization, he has spent considerable time with the youth of Mississippi. He has served breakfast at Sudduth Elementary School, participated in Sudduth's Kids Fair and read to local students to promote literacy. He has also organized a Thanksgiving food drive."
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."
While the 2011 O-line class may not have those “can’t miss” kinds of prospects at the top, there are still several very solid prospects that will likely be had somewhere in the middle of the first round.
Sherrod is one of the top offensive tackle prospects on the board.
Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod fits the bill.
Sherrod’s best physical attributes are his speed and agility. He’s very light on his feet for a guy his size, and that helps him get off the snap very quickly. By doing so, he’s usually able to prevent speed rushers from beating him with their first move. Sherrod is especially effective in pass blocking due to his foot speed. Despite his average strength, he has great balance, which helps him to get good leverage against stronger opposing players. Sherrod is very good at cutting off the inside, forcing rushers to work to the outside, away from the backfield. He has great experience as well, as he’s started since he was a freshman.
As mentioned above, Sherrod needs to add some strength and bulk to his frame. He has great height, but at 300 pounds, is smaller than your standard NFL offensive lineman. He gets his hands and arms too far outside from time to time, which allows the opposition to hit him in the chest and push him backwards. While he’s a great pass blocker, his run blocking needs some work. Adding lower body strength will help Sherrod in driving forward and pushing guys back. Another criticism of his game is that he doesn’t always finish off a block, which allows a rusher’s secondary move to work effectively against him.
Due to the lack of a clear-cut top prospect at this position, Sherrod could go anywhere from the mid-first to early-second round of the draft. In his most recent mock, Keet Bailey has Green Bay taking Sherrod at No. 25 overall. A team with a shaky left side of the line would be well suited to consider him due to his elite pass blocking skill. Getting your quarterback killed from the blindside isn’t particularly desirable, I’d imagine, so Sherrod has great value there. His solid athleticism should help him in his pre-draft workouts, and if he can bulk up, his stock could rise by April.
NFL Player Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson"
Positive: Athletic blind side tackle with a lot of upside. Plays with good lean, keeps his hands active throughout the action, and stays square. Better than average quickness off the edge, can slide his feet, and is a terrific position blocker who seals defenders from the play. Fluid moving around the field, quick out to the second level, and redirects to linebackers, taking them from the action. Blocks with good knee bend and pad level.
Negative: Possesses average strength at the point of attack and struggles to finish off opponents. Much better pass protector than run blocker.
Analysis: Sherrod has been a consistent player at Mississippi State and possesses all the skills necessary to develop into a left tackle at the next level. He'll need time to physically mature and add strength to his frame, but he is one of the better blind side tackle prospects in this draft."
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."
Weaknesses: Lower body strength needs to improve to get better anchor against the bull rush. Will occasionally fail to get low and use leverage on the line of scrimmage. Needs to improve balance and while agile, will sometimes miss his targets downfield. Needs to develop 'killer instinct' and play with high intensity.
Projection: 2nd round. Could be a late first round pick with strong showing at combine in one-on-one drills."
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 is hampered by a poor Crouch, and both his Power to Drive the Run Game + his Strength to Anchor against the Pass Rush need more development. However, his Lateral Agility is exceptional, his Flanking Speed is very good, and his Mechanics ~ aside from the poor Crouch ~ are excellent.
He is a very smart Grizzly, and has excellent potential. Were he projected for the Mid Rounds, I'd call him a Project. But, seeing as how a dearth of Elite Talent, this year, has thrust the likes of him, Solder, Carimi, and Castonzo well beyond the level that this humble Writer believes they currently warrant...
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