Packers first-round OT Derek Sherrod shapes up as the heir apparent to veteran Pro Bowl OLT Chad Clifton, who will turn 35 in June. Look for the 6-5 3/8, 321-pounder to initially be the top backup behind Clifton with the capability of playing both left and right tackle in a pinch. What follows is a scouting breakdown of Sherrod by PFW draft expert Nolan Nawrocki:
Notes: Two-way lineman who also played basketball as a Mississippi prep. Saw action as a reserve in 11 games as a true freshman in 2007. Started 10-of-11 games played at left tackle in '08 - did not play in the season opener or start in Week Two while dealing with a foot infection. Started all 25 games at left tackle in 2009-10. Team captain.
Positives: 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 very important to him.
Negatives: 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 on finesse. Lacks confidence and plays too soft-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.
Summary: A polarizing evaluation for many NFL teams, Sherrod does not fit ideally at any one position on the line. He lacks elite athletic ability for the left side and ideal power for the right, but has a nice blend of both qualities and enough to function at left tackle in the pros. Could even wind up kicking inside to guard, where some teams have graded him, and versatility is a plus. Has clear starter talent, does not get challenged much and should take over at the OLT position readily, warranting first-round attention.
NFL projection: Top-50 pick.