2011 NFL Draft prospect: Derek Sherrod (LT, 6'6/312 )

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen called Sherrod the best offensive tackle he’s ever been around.

Sherrod’s wingspan was measured at 83 7/8 inches, the longest of any player at the Senior Bowl. His arms were measured at 35 ½ inches, which was also the longest. His hands were 11 inches, which was tied for second.

On the field, Doug Farrar of Football Outsiders has observed that Sherrod "may be the most consistent on a play-to-play basis  -- a trait reflected in his excellent Senior Bowl week.

His size  has him an inch or two shorter than a lot of this year's tackles, and you see the difference in the way he's able to get under pads.  Does all the little things well in pass protection -- rises up off the snap quickly, keeps a wide base to his kick step, exhibits startling quickness outside, and blocks out edge rushers especially well on the back half of the rush.

 Wes Bunting from added:

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.

Finally, it’s always fun to watch two top-tier prospects go head to head and that’s exactly what we saw at the Senior Bowl when Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller squared off with Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod in a heavyweight matchup.  Sherrod took the jab, was quicker to reach the corner and did a nice job maintaining his balance and extending his arms into Miller. Miller countered with an inside spin, but Sherrod cleanly redirected — the reason why we think he’s the best OT in the nation — and calmly anchored through the play.

Might be the best pass-blocking left tackle in the SEC and that is saying something, as the conference is loaded with talented senior offensive linemen.  Manning the left tackle position, Sherrod consistently stoned his opponent in pass protection and was just as effective in the running game, often providing an initial pop to the defensive end before releasing to the second level. Sherrod is a step slow off the snap at times, but is a fluid athlete who generates good depth out of his stance. He has long arms and good upper body strength to jolt the defender. Sherrod plays on the balls of his feet and has good lateral agility and balance to mirror pass-rushers, including linebackers coming on the blitz. He plays with leverage and has the impressive core strength to handle the bull-rush.

As a run-blocker, Sherrod relies more on positioning and athleticism than pure strength. While he can knock the defender back with his initial surge, Sherrod doesn't currently possess the elite power to drive his opponent downfield. Too often Sherrod seemed content with pushing his opponent initially, but not dominating as consistently as his size, power and technique advantage would make seem possible. Sherrod's athleticism, however, does make him a quality zone-blocking candidate. He is often asked to pull in this scheme, showing good agility and straight-line speed in getting to the second level.

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.

Bucky Brooks

He is an athletic edge blocker with an excellent frame and good movement skills. He is surprisingly nimble for his size and shows good lateral quickness in space. As a pass blocker, he looks like a natural left tackle with the ability to mirror speed rushers. He reacts and adjusts to counter moves well and flashes a good initial punch engaging with a rusher. With a game that is built on finesse skills, Sherrod struggles against power players. He lacks the strength, balance and body control to anchor against bull rushes and will need to develop an effective counter to thrive as a pro.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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