Packers Annual Checkup: OT Derek Sherrod

Today is the 42nd day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig’s offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay’s roster. Click here for all of Paul’s previous evaluations and come back every day through mid-March for Paul’s in-depth film and statistical analysis. Coming up soon:

 OT Derek Sherrod
Monday, March 11: CB Sam Shields
Tuesday, March 12: G Josh Sitton
Wednesday, March 13: ILB D.J. Smith
Thursday, March 14: James Starks
Friday, March 15: TE Ryan Taylor

Season stats: 0 games (broken leg from 2011 season kept him out all year)
Best game: n/a
Worst game: n/a season rating: n/a
Expectations at the start of the season: Medium
Expectations were …  Incomplete
Looking live: Sherrod’s rookie season in 2011 didn’t go as planned. Sherrod, the Packers’ first-round pick that year, struggled in training camp after a lockout-shortened offseason. He took snaps at his primary spot at tackle but also competed with T.J. Lang for the starting left guard job. Neither position worked out very well. When injuries hit the offensive line early that season, it was Marshall Newhouse, not Sherrod, who got the call off the bench. Late that season, when Sherrod finally got a chance to play, he broke his right leg and had surgery soon after. There was some reserved optimism that Sherrod would be healthy enough at some point during the 2012 season to be added to the Packers’ active roster. The team held out as long as it possibly could, but Sherrod was officially ruled out for the rest of the season in November.
Upon further review: Sherrod was a highly-touted prospect coming out of Mississippi State two years ago and was a first-round pick for a reason. He has good size, long arms and is a very intelligent player. Some scouts questioned his overall aggression and on-field demeanor, but the Packers knew all of this when drafting him. Through two NFL seasons, mostly due to a devastating leg injury, Sherrod hasn’t been able to prove if his positive qualities outweigh the negatives. He is not a bust. Not yet, at least. Writing off Sherrod right now is a mistake. If in three years he’s still not a starting tackle, then yes, it was a bad first-round pick by general manager Ted Thompson and his staff. But right now, Sherrod is just unproven. He needs time on the field and a full, healthy training camp before being cast aside. Sherrod could very well be just what the Packers’ offensive line needs to protect Aaron Rodgers better. Adding a healthy Sherrod to the roster this offseason is like acquiring an additional first-round pick. It might not work out, but there’s still a chance Sherrod becomes a starting-caliber player.
Overall 2012 grade: Incomplete
Status for 2013: 99 percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster in Week 1 next season. It’s difficult to tell what will become of Sherrod’s career, but the skill set is there and he’s still only 23 years old. When training camp opens this summer, Sherrod should compete for a starting job against Newhouse. It’s possible that Green Bay adds a veteran offensive tackle or uses a high pick to draft one, but Sherrod will be in the mix. The Packers lacked depth on their offensive line this past season, and regardless of whether Sherrod wins a starting spot, the overall talent of that group will be better in 2013 with him healthy and able to contribute.