Mississippi State Senior
A good athlete with nice footwork. Can adjust in space and shows nice lateral movement. Usually plays with good base and is a natural knee bender. Uses his hands and does a nice job initiating contact on the edge. Shows a nice punch and has the ability to lock on and redirect. Does a good job getting out to the second level quickly and does a nice job locating linebackers and delivering a cut block. Shows some ability to pull inside. Flashes leg drive and can lock on as a drive blocker. Does a good job finishing his blocks and doesn't quit on play even if he makes a mistake.
Needs to do a better job in the running game. Doesn't take great angles, whiffing on some blocks, and can't consistently get position. Doesn't fire off the ball when working out of a three-point stance and will take a false step trying to get up and deliver blow. Works predominantly out of a two-point stance most downs. Whiffs on his punch a bit too much on the edge in pass protection and can be beat around the edge or inside with the swim move. Will get overextended and has trouble locating a moving target with his hands. Doesn't always play with good base and will get worked back into the quarterback by the bull rusher. May not have great mean streak.
Sherrod is a solid technician that has the tools you look for in a left tackle. He can be left on an island. Flashes potential and power as a run blocker, but he's more of a position blocker. Does his best work when he's getting out on the second level and taking out linebackers. He needs some more polish, but if a team can iron out the kinks in his game, he can be a solid left tackle. Most of his reps as a reserve freshman were at right tackle, but made the move to the left side as a sophomore, where he has started 35 games over the past three seasons. Had a 3.54 GPA while in school and active in community while in school. Has bulked considerably in off-season, as he was listed at 305 pounds, weighed in at 312 for the Senior Bowl, and was 321 at the Combine. The 315-320 range is probably ideal with his frame and playing style.
Sherrod has enough polish that he can start right away at the next level, but I don't think it's going to reap great results. But a team could probably get away with him being their starter as a rookie. He is good in a short area, so I think he'll have most of his early issues dealing with speed in the pros. But if he can improve his punch, then he should do better since he has pretty good feet to match up with speed. I think he'll work best in a zone blocking scheme because he's more of a position blocker that doesn't get enough push to really be good running behind. But he has the potential to become a better drive blocker in a man-blocking scheme if he can polish up his hand placement, footwork, and ability to play out of a three-point stance. Sometimes when I watch him, he reminds me of Ryan Clady. But other times, he reminds me of Chris Williams. He has longer arms than Williams, so he's probably less likely to move inside like Williams has in Chicago. But he needs to work on using them better, and it wouldn't surprise me if he struggles early in his career at left tackle, particularly if a team rushes him into the lineup before he's ready. I don't think it would be a good idea to hand him a starting job. Making him work for it against a veteran is probably the best approach, that way he'll be forced to have to improve and polish his game. But that rarely is the case for left tackles like him that are drafted as high as he is. He definitely has the potential to be one of the better left tackles in the leageu, but I'd be more confident he'd reach that potential if a team is patient with him. Even with that patience, he's definitely good enough to start by his second year. He'll find a role as a starter in the NFL, either as a left tackle or a guard. Worst case scenario is he has to move to guard three or four years down the road, and is an above average player there. Best case is that he develops in a Top 10 tackle in a similar mold as Clady.
Sherrod has potential to develop in the Falcons system. And Atlanta would be a good place for him to come because he wouldn't be forced to start right away. And the Falcons would probably have him sit a year before he really gave Baker a run for his money. He could be an option at right tackle if Clabo isn't re-signed, but wouldn't be a smooth, seamless transition right away. There would be a downgrade in his run blocking, although he should be an upgrade in pass protection. If Sherrod had to sit a year and Baker was able to make strides, Sherrod could potentially move inside to guard for the Falcons and compete there in his second year. He would be a valuable depth option through his first year or two in Atlanta and eventually down the road could fill some starting role either as a left tackle (replacing Baker after 2012) or at one of the guard spots. He'd be an upgrade at either guard spot because he should be a much better pass protector than any option the Falcons currently have on the roster and has the potential to develop down the road as a good run blocker.
Sherrod is a nice left tackle prospect because he has fairly polished technique. He's worth a first round pick in the latter half of the first round because of his potential to be one of the better blindside protectors in the league.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 4.0
Run Blocking: 3.0
Mean Streak: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.