Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod was the Green Bay Packers' top pick in the 2011 NFL draft. / Keith Warren/Jackson Clarion-Ledger
“I’m an all-around guy. I can do everything. I don’t give up sacks. I take pride in nobody being able to test my quarterback or get near my quarterback. I’ve been in a very successful run program at Mississippi State, so I know how to run block. I’m a very intelligent, athletic offensive lineman, so I can get down field, get on a defender, and block.”
— Derek Sherrod on his strengths
“We think it's a really good value to get a big man that late in the first round, and we feel like can come in and help us. Where he’s going to play, I don’t know, but I know this, you can never have too many big men. The more run blockers, the more pass blockers we have, the better off we do."
— Packers general manager Ted Thompson
“I think he’s a very good fit for our offense and our group. He’s 6-5 and change from a size standpoint and very athletic. He’s very competitive, has quickness of the ball and balance. I think he’s an excellent prospect for us to work with.”
— Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin
The Green Bay Packers selected Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod with the 32nd overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft on Thursday night. Here's a closer look at him.
Position: Offensive tackle
School: Mississippi State
Height, weight: 6-foot-5, 321 pounds
Measurables: 5.28 seconds in 40-yard dash; 1.87 in 10-yard dash; 3.05 in 20-yard dash; 4.63 in 20-yard shuttle; 7.43 three-cone drill; 28-inch vertical jump; 8-1 broad jump; bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times; 35 3/8-inch arm length; 11-inch hands; 83 7/8-inch wingspan.
Highlights: One of the most decorated offensive linemen in school history, Sherrod was named to seven all-America teams as a senior and is regarded as the best draft prospect at his position by the NFL Draft Report. … Ever since moving into the starting lineup as a freshman, he received winning grades for blocking consistency in every game. … He earned four SEC player-of-the-week honors during his final season. … He started 36 of 47 games at left offensive tackle at Mississippi State, becoming the 11th offensive lineman in school history to earn all-America honors and was just the fifth down lineman to garner first-team recognition. … In his last three seasons, Mississippi State scored 62 times on the ground with Sherrod recording 44 of those touchdown-resulting blocks. … In his 36 starts, Sherrod had 319 knockdown blocks, an average of 8.86 per game, the highest average of any 2011 NFL draft-eligible lineman. … He had a school-record 92.8 percent grade for blocking consistency, grading at least 90 percent in nine games. Led the conference’s down lineman with 122 knockdowns and 20 touchdown-resulting blocks. The Bulldogs ranked second in the SEC and 16th in the nation with a rushing average of 214.85 yards per game.
Strengths: Well built with wide shoulders, long arms, huge hands and good overall body length. Plays square to the line of scrimmage and has good lateral agility to shuffle, slide and mirror. Good recovery speed in pass pro. Sound technician in the run game – understands angles and leverage, runs his feet on contact and works to maintain positioning and sustain. Can clear his feet through traffic and plays with good balance – is not on the ground a lot. Tough, competitive and plays through injuries. Outstanding work ethic and preparation. Is smart, assignment-sound and trustworthy. The game is important to him.
Weaknesses: Lacks functional lower-body strength. Does not roll off the ball flat-backed with power or generate movement in the run game. Not strong or powerful at the point of attack and relies tempered with little emotion on the field. Almost plays too nice and does not seek to finish. Passive playing temperament turned off evaluators at the Senior Bowl.
Noteworthy: Graduated in August 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus on financial risk management, insurance and financial planning, compiling a 3.54 grade point average. … Finalist for NCAA’s 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy, commonly called the “Academic Heisman.” … One of 16 players to win the storied National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Award, which includes a post-graduate $18,000 scholarship. He is the third Bulldog to win the award and first since 1989. … A two-way starter in high school, Sherrod was a four-year starter on the offensive line and three-year regular on the defensive side. … He was recruited to Mississippi State by former Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom, a former Packers assistant coach. ... Sherrod will wear No. 78 for the Packers. He wore No. 79 in college.
Pete Dougherty's pre-draft profile
Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Pete Dougherty ranked Sherrod as the fifth-best tackle available in the draft. All four tackles ranked ahead of Sherrod were drafted before him on Thursday night.
Started 35 of 37 games at left tackle his final three seasons. None of the scouts interviewed rated him among the top four tackles but most had him fifth.
“Nice feet,” one scout said. “People are trying to move him to guard, I’ve heard that around the league, but this guy’s going to be a good tackle. Is he going to be a right tackle more than left? Probably. But he’s going to play for a long time. He’s got great feet, good hands, good punch and recoil. This guy has a little (crap) in his neck too, he’s a(n expletive) at times.”
Has a big, thick frame with long arms (353/8 inches) but isn’t a great athlete (5.18 seconds in the 40, 28-inch vertical, 8-1 broad jump, 23 bench-press reps). Smart, hard working, but scouts are divided on whether he’s a genuine first-round prospect or just getting pushed up the board because of the premium on tackles.
“I don’t like that player at all,” another scout said. “He has a waist bending problem, he’s stiff. I hope he goes in front of us because that means a good player is coming down. I think he’s a guard. He’s got a real issue in space.”
Strengths and weaknesses according to Pro Football Weekly