Pass Protection: Does a nice job of using his long arms and hands to get an initial punch on defensive linemen. Can be a little slow off the snap at times, but is able to use his quick feet to recover and get into proper leverage. On occasion he gets a little high in his kick out, causing some unbalance issues. Shows quick enough feet and good lateral movement to mirror edge rushers. Sticks his feet in the ground and anchors well against the bull rush. Can struggle with speed at times, but if he gets his hands on you it’s over. Rarely is blatantly beaten off the edge. When it does occur, he does a nice job of running defenders behind the quarterback. Smart player, but did show some confusion on blitz pickups. Does do a good job of coming off his initial block to pick up stunts and twists. Could benefit from adding additional strength to his upper body. Tends to be more of a finesse/technique player than a mauler/strength player.
Run Blocking: Again, shows the ability to get the initial punch on defensive linemen. Comes out of his stance hard and can drive defenders several yards off the ball. Does a solid job of keeping his waist and knees bent to maintain leverage throughout the duration of the play. Consistently holds blocks and will play to the whistle. At times, he’ll drop his heads and eyes while pulling, causing open field whiffs and unbalance. Excellent at swinging his hips and sealing off the hole. Can do so for off tackle and interior runs. Shows the ability to get off of his initial block and continue to the second and even third level. Also has the lateral movement to trap and block down on interior defensive linemen.
Awareness: Smart and experienced player who knows what his assignments are. Knows when to come off of his man to pick up stunts or twists. Stays composed and is rarely called for a penalty. Will need to improve his blitz recognition at the next level.
Toughness: Plays every snap hard and to the whistle. Although he gets the job done, would like to see a little more nastiness to his game. Very durable player, who played a total of 50 games throughout his collegiate career.
Intangibles: Mississippi High School Player of the Year in 2006. Three year starter at left tackle in college. Team captain. First Team All-SEC in 2010. Graduated with a 3.54 GPA and a degree in business. Also received the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award. Off the field he is involved with the community, often working with youth programs.
Overall Stock: Derek Sherrod isn’t flashy, but he does everything you’d expect an NFL starting Tackle to do. Very rarely was he beaten or caught out of position in college. His 3-year starting experience, in arguably the best conference in the country will pay dividends at the next level. He’s a decent athlete who shows the footwork and technique to protect the team’s greatest asset–the quarterback. He also has the arm length and natural bend to keep defenders at bay. However, containing speed rushers at the next level could be a bit of a problem. Sherrod is a very good Left Tackle prospect and could possibly be a starter from day one. Worst case scenario, he is a great Right Tackle for the next ten years. Right now he is considered a fringe first round prospect, but I don’t see why he shouldn’t be selected somewhere in the latter half of round one. With the lack of sure-fire franchise Left Tackles in this year’s draft class, Sherrod could easily emerge as the best of the bunch in a few years.
NFL Comparison: Donald Penn