Sherrod Ready for NFL Draft, Ready to Get on Field

When Derek Sherrod was 6 years old, he tried soccer. At 7, he tried baseball. He didn’t stick with either one.

In seventh grade, though, he took to the football field and has thrived there ever since. It’s all led up to tonight, when the former Mississippi State star is expected to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft (7 p.m., ESPN).

Sherrod will not be in New York City – he wasn’t invited – and said he already had plans anyway to watch the draft from Columbus with family and close friends, probably at his house. Of all the projections, the majority seem to have him going to the Chicago Bears with the 29th overall pick. That’s where draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both place Sherrod in their final mock drafts released today.

It might kill the party tonight if Sherrod isn’t taken, but he said he’s OK with whatever transpires.

“The first round, that was my goal,” he said. “I definitely worked hard to put myself there, but I’ll be glad with anywhere that I end up.”

Sherrod has a pretty good résumé. He was a three-year starter in the SEC and earned All-America honors from several outlets after his senior season. He’s considered by some to be the best senior left tackle in a draft that’s deep at that position.

Sherrod feels his SEC experience has prepared him to get on the field quickly in the NFL. As I wrote in my story, he’s not spent a lot of time on the bench.

“I’ve always just pushed myself. I feel like I can go out there on the field and go and do my job any way possible,” he said.

• Three other Bulldogs are expected to be drafted this weekend: defensive end Pernell McPhee, linebacker Chris White and linebacker K.J. Wright. McPhee and Wright could possibly go Friday, when the second and third rounds are held. White probably won’t be taken until Saturday (rounds four through seven).

Guys who might sign as free agents include receiver Leon Berry and center J.C. Brignone. The AJC says Berry is the second-best special teams player in the draft. Hat tip to local draft expert Bob Carskadon on that one, but Bob’s also reporting that Berry might forego the NFL this year so his broken leg can completely heal.