Will Sherrod Go in First Round? Experts Weigh In

The last time Mississippi State had a player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft was 1996, when a pair of Bulldogs went: DB Walt Harris (13th to Chicago) and WR Eric Moulds (24th to Buffalo).

Now you have some trivia with which to impress your friends. The 15-year first-round drought could end on Thursday, because a lot of folks are projecting offensive tackle Derek Sherrod to be one of the first 32 players chosen when teams gather in New York City for the annual draft event.

Most mock drafts I’ve seen have Sherrod going late in the first round, and the most likely destination – based on those – is Chicago. I scoured the Web and rounded up some thoughts from various experts (their projections of Sherrod in parentheses) and present it to you now. To view the ESPN.com guys’ stuff, you’ll need an Insider subscription.

A note: I had a really good conversation with Sherrod yesterday and will have a feature on him in Thursday’s Journal. Look for it.

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Peter King, Sports Illustrated (Bears, 29th pick): “Sherrod – more of a technician than a brawler – isn’t really (offensive line coach Mike) Tice‘s type, but he is the best available lineman, and the Bears simply have to address this position of major need.”

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Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com (Packers, 32nd): “Sherrod has been a consistent player, and could be the answer to replace Chad Clifton. When you have a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, you’re going to win a lot of games. Priority No. 1 has to be to keep him upright.”

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Todd McShay, ESPN.com (Seahawks, 25th): “Sherrod is a technician who works well on the move and is always in good position, and he is a good fit for Seattle’s version of the West Coast offense.”

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Sporting News (Packers, 32nd): “The Packers would be thrilled if the draft fell this way. They value pass blockers and need an eventual replacement for left tackle Chad Clifton. Sherrod will be able to learn behind a savvy veteran and be ready to start in 2012.”

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Jeff Howe, NESN.com (Patriots, 28th): “He is criticized for not having the greatest motor, and he had a substandard workout at the combine. All of these things make it fair to question his desire and passion for football.”

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Chad Reuter, CBSSports.com (Bears, 29th): “[A]lthough athletic and solid, is not always considered the strongest or most intense lineman by pro coaches.”

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Brian Baldinger, NFL Network (Ravens, 26th): “The Ravens have a glaring hole at right tackle, and Joe Flacco was sacked a career-high 40 times last season. They’ve had success with picks like Michael Oher and Ben Grubbs, and I see the same thing with Sherrod.”

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And then there was this quote from Bears GM Jerry Angelo, via the Chicago Tribune: “You are not going to get any dirt on Sherrod when you look for it. … He’s impeccable in terms of his citizenship, his work ethic, very intelligent.”