At this point in our 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile series I think we have profiled every offensive lineman, at least every offensive tackle, likely to go in the first round. With one exception, that is. We have not yet talked about Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod, who might be the most natural if not the most talented of all of the first-round left tackle candidates.
So, let's do that. Sherrod has a reputation as an agile, smooth pass blocker who can handle edge rushers. We know, of course, that handling speed on the outside is a necessity in the NFC East and something incumbent left tackle David Diehl struggles with.
Sherrod, by most accounts, is a good run blocker as well, though not an exceptionally physical one.
Scouting reports after the jump.
OT, Mississippi State
6-foot-6, 305 pounds
Projection: Round 1
From National Football Post:
A tall, long-armed athlete who possesses good overall size and length for the position. Exhibits above-average balance, range and body control on his kick-slide from a two-point stance. Does a nice job reaching the corner, staying somewhat compact with his footwork and is fluid changing directions in space. Possesses good natural flexibility, but struggles to consistently keep his pad level down through the play, has a tendency to get upright at times.
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.
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.
From Draft Countdown:
- Ideal height and good bulk with large hands
- Quick and agile with above average athleticism
- Light on feet. Able to slide and mirror laterally
- Good footwork, balance and body control
- Technically sound and uses his hands well
- Great pass blocker and can protect the edge
- Does a solid job in the run game as a drive blocker
- Effective in space and can get to the second level
- Just average strength and overall power
- Doesn't have real long arms but adequate
- Not overly stout at the point of attack
- Not overly aggressive and may lack a killer instinct
The type who does everything well but nothing great --- Possesses both the physical tools and intangibles that you look for in a left tackle prospect --- Not particularly flashy but very consistent and arguably the best all - around blocker in this class.
From Mocking The Draft:
Agility: Is a very good athlete for the position. Can move around with ease and doesn't have heavy feet. Very fluid. Is decent on the move.
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.
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.
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.