2011 Draft Profiles: OT – Derek Sherrod
College: Mississippi St.
Age: 21 years old
Experience: Senior (4 years)
Starts at LT: 34 games
Starts at RT: 0 games
Height: 6 feet 5 inches
Weight: 321 lbs.
Arm Length: 35.38 inches
Hand Width: 11.00 inches
Projection: Left Tackle
Projected Round: 1st Round
Combine Results (Pro Day Results)
40 Yard Dash: 5.28 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 7.43 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.63 seconds
Bench Press: 23 reps
Vertical Jump: 28.0 inches
Broad Jump: 97 inches
Speed: With a 40 time of 5.28 seconds, Sherrod finished just outside the top 15 offensive linemen times, and ended up similar to Gabe Carimi and James Carpenter. It isn’t particularly amazing speed, but considering Sherrod is one of the top picks based upon his performance, his results at the combine won’t have a huge impact on opinions of him. This respectable straight-line speed is partially mitigated by a lack of good balance which hinders his ability to function as a lead or screen blocker as effectively.
Agility: Derek Sherrod posted some of the best times in both the 3-cone drill and 20-yard short shuttle, which helps him reaffirm his position as a very skilled pass protector. Sherrod demonstrated good agility overall with good scores in both categories. The 3-cone drill established his ability to change directions on the run well, while his 20-yard shuttle time demonstrated that he is capable of cutbacks with quick acceleration. Both of these traits come in handy when a lineman is asked to trap or pull in run blocking, and also bodes very well for their ability to hold the edge against speed rushers. Scouting reports already read favorably on his ability to move laterally and stay with defensive ends.
Experience: Sherrod is a true senior, who started most of the past three seasons at left tackle. He spent his freshman year played up between a third and half of the snaps in any given game as a backup. He took over as the starter in most of the games during his sophomore year. He was chosen as a team captain as a senior, and was well respected by his teammates. Sherrod is also exceptionally intelligent, and very involved in his community doing charitable work. He not only was an active volunteer in a local school district, he also organized a Thanksgiving food drive for the needy, and is a 4-year member of a community service club on campus for student athletes. Sherrod finished his business degree with a GPA above 3.5, and received an $18,000 scholarship to pursue post-graduate studies.
Size/Build: Like many of the top prospects, Sherrod has very good size, despite being the shortest of the top 4 offensive tackle prospects. Even though he weighed in at 321 lbs, heavier than every other first round OT prospect, most scouting reports suggest that he should continue to add more bulk to his frame. This suggestion comes in part because of Sherrod’s frame, which features broad shoulders and narrow hips. This type of frame is not as balanced naturally and doesn’t have the lower body strength of more evenly distributed frames. That said, Sherrod has good enough strength top to bottom to be effective. His rather pathetic bench press and vertical jump are slightly concerning though. While Sherrod got good reviews at the Senior Bowl, much of the criticism for fellow first round prospect, Nate Solder, stems in part from his lack of dominating strength. Sherrod will need to impress at his Pro-Day to prevent questions from popping up.
Pass Blocking: Sherrod, like Anthony Castonzo, gets high marks in pass protection for his ability to move laterally and keep ahead of edge rushers. Sherrod also has one of the largest wingspans of offensive line prospects at the combine, with sufficient strength to control defenders. He has a tendency to become lazy with his technique, though, and can get caught with quick moves. Sherrod also tends to lean on a defender instead of staying completely upright, allowing quick defenders to chip him and knock him off balance easily. Once off balance, he struggles to reassert control and usually gives up the inside lane. One of Sherrod’s strongest attributes in pass protection, though, is his field vision. He recognizes blitzes very well, and very quickly, allowing him to get into a position, or chip his primary mark and then quickly move to the blitzer.
Run Blocking: Despite having a very good reaction to the snap and having a quick hit initially, Sherrod has poor technique as a run blocker and struggles to dislodge defenders from the line. Despite not being able to make headway creating running lanes, he has enough strength in his arms and hands that he can open lanes by manipulating the defender to move to a side, letting RBs bounce off him and into the next level. Scouts are also not particularly impressed with his way of finishing blocks. They tend to lack command or authority, and scouting reports indicate that being able to assert his dominance in finishing blocks would help significantly. Sherrod has good vision of the field and releases from blocks to help in the backfield, or at the second level on a consistent basis, and has the wherewithal to be a good chip blocker down field, but his lack of balance prevents him from fully engaging in the open field.
Health: Sherrod has a very minimal injury history. He missed only one game with an injury during his sophomore year, and has not had any injury concerns since. He is not currently injured, and fully participated in the Combine, and plans to do so again at his Pro-day.
OVERVIEW: Sherrod tends to be a popular third choice for the Colts after Castonzo and Carimi, but his ability to impact immediately is still not certain. Sherrod had a very good showing at the Senior Bowl, so the common logic currently is that he would be able to be put in to play just as easily as either Carimi or Castonzo. For a team like the Colts though, they may want to work out a number of his bad tendencies and lazy techniques before relying upon him too much. He had a bad habit of hand placement on running plays, which will get flagged early and often in the NFL, and if he continues to play overbalanced, then premier pass rushers will begin to chip him and eliminate his strength and agility. He also tends to be beaten by bull rushes. His experience may be enough to see him through the growing pains, but as it stands now, fans may not see many changes to the offensive line if Sherrod is taken this year. The Colts want to improve the line, but they won’t do it if they are going to replace a generally solid starter who has very good technique with someone who is going to draw holding penalties, isn’t developed enough to really be effective run blocking, and can get picked apart by some of the better defensive ends in the league. That said, if Carimi and Castonzo are both gone by #22, the Colts may well still take him and hope they can force feed finesse to him before he has to step up in a game.
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At the moment, I am just like every other dedicated Colts fan (I'm anxious for the season, and tired of the lack of news). On a personal note though, I am a Purdue student who happens to have a desire to write and a fairly deep passion for the Colts and statistics. As such, I am basically a troll. I have been to 38 U.S. States at least, living in a handful of them, and I've been to 6 other countries, living in England the last two years of High School, and then coming back to the US for University. I'm an introverted person, but on the bright side, that gives me more than enough time to lose myself in random projects, some of which really helps when trying to provide serious content on everyone's favorite NFL team.
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