Earlier in the week I listed five senior prospects I was going to be focusing on for the opening weekend of college football action. Sherrod was not among those players, as they each played on Saturday. Sherrod and his Mississippi State teammates lost a 17-14 nail-biter to the Auburn Tigers in a rare Thursday night SEC showdown.
Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (Sherrod, in this case) was unquestionably the best. It isn't that Sherrod was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis (who posted 5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks against Vanderbilt) or Troy wideout Jerrel Jernigan (who finished with 277 all-purpose yards and TDs via kick return and receiving in a close loss to Oklahoma State). However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 senior prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.
Sherrod was very impressive against a talented Auburn defense. So impressive that after reviewing dozens of candidates the rest of the weekend, I couldn't find a player that I thought was more deserving of attention.
Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant . This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here .
We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, every Monday, I'll post my picks for each award.
Player of the Week - September 9, 2010
OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State 6-5 / 305 / 5.22 -- opponent: Auburn
The Bulldogs lost their conference opener to the Tigers, giving up a great deal of pressure up front (three sacks and numerous pressures), but Sherrod wasn't to blame. 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 was a step slow off the snap, at times, against the Tigers, 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. I'd like to see him play with a little more nastiness, as well. 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. The Bulldogs haven't had a player drafted in the first round since 1994. In Sherrod, they have an excellent chance at breaking that streak.