Has good size and speed. Can play the deep ball and break up the jump ball, timing his jump well. Capable of playing in press coverage. Does a nice job in run support, showing some physicality to deliver hit after the catch. Breaks down and wraps up at the point of attack.
Doesn't do a good job getting the jam when he's in press coverage. Lacks the hips to really turn and run with receivers. Tends to get handsy running with receivers down the field and doesn't do a good job turning and locating the deep ball. This leads to a bunch of penalties. Will miss stops in the open field because he tackles too high. Will bite on play fakes and doesn't play with good overall awareness.
Sherman is an intriguing athlete that is still developing as a corner. He began his career at wide receiver and was their top receiver as a freshman and sophomore. He combined for 73 catches for 1232 yards (16.9 avg) and 7 touchdowns during those years. He missed most of the following year after suffering a partial tear in his patellar tendon. He caught 8 passes in 4 games before he went down with an injury. He came back the following year and moved to cornerback. The past two seasons he has started there and combined for 112 tackles, 6 picks and 17 breakups. He also average 9.3 yards on 23 career punt returns with 2 scores, and did the triple jump in track early in his career.
Sherman has potential because teams will like his size, speed, and athleticism. But most of the plays he makes are vs. the run, and he's just not a playmaking or instinctual corner. Many of his interceptions come on poorly thrown balls. He competes, but just lacks the ball skills to make a significant contribution at corner early in his NFL career. He might stand a better chance moving to safety. He's a good enough tackler there and has the size. Again, his ball skills and awareness will be limited there, but he can be an effective player in run support. More than likely, Sherman will be a career backup. The comparison I would make is someone like Lenny Walls, a big tall corner. But unlike Walls, I don't think Sherman will be a functional starter at the next level. But he'll be able to contribute on special teams which should keep him in the league, unlike Walls who struggled to stick. He's just basically a No. 4 guy that adds depth, but probably will never be a major contributor on regular defense.
Sherman offers depth in Atlanta, but he's not any better than Owens or Franks, and isn't likely to pass either on the depth chart. He can compete on special teams, but he's probably not going to unseat Weems on punt returns. The Falcons are probably a team that is better off moving him to safety and developing him as a backup there. In the end, his long-term value is probably going to be tied to how good he is on special teams rather than any salvageable upside to play defense.
Sherman's athletic tools and upside, coupled with his ability to contribute as a role player on special teams makes him draft-worthy. But spending more than a sixth or seventh round pick on him will likely lead to disappointment.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Man Coverage: 2.5
Zone Coverage: 2.0
Ball Skills: 2.0
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