John Dorsey, the Packers' director of college scouting since 2000, shed some light on the subject while talking to Packer Report about the team's 10 draft picks on Friday morning.
"Not only do you get the quality person, I think you're getting a quality football player," Dorsey said for our annual contribution to the Packers Yearbook. "He's shown that he's got the ability to play left tackle in the SEC against some of the finest pass rushers in the country and he's held his own. You'd like for him to be the heir apparent (to longtime starting left tackle Chad Clifton) but he's got to earn it. We'll find out. We think we've got a player there. They all rave about him — they all rave about his work ethic, they all rave about his ability. It's going to be exciting to see his development."
Who lines up where, of course, will be determined by the coaches. Sherrod started at left tackle in each of his final three seasons at Mississippi State. He didn't allow a sack as a junior and senior, due to a superb combination of intelligence, athletic ability and length. Those tools make him a natural left tackle. If Sherrod indeed plays like the heir apparent to the ever-dependable Clifton, then last year's first-round pick, Bryan Bulaga, could stay at right tackle, where he played so well down the stretch.
Bulaga, who yielded a troubling total of 11 sacks as a rookie but was superb in the playoffs, was drafted with the intention of being Clifton's successor at left tackle but arm length was a major reason why he surprisingly tumbled to the Packers with the 23rd pick. Bulaga has 33 1/4-inch arms compared to 35 5/8-inch arms for Sherrod, with that length giving Sherrod the ability to keep a defender at bay or to push him past the quarterback.
"Sherrod is a technician and Bulaga is a mauler," NFL Scouting's Dave-Te' Thomas, who began his scouting work in 1968, said in the new edition of Packer Report Magazine. "Actually, I like my mauler on the right side and my technician on the left. The left tackle has to not only play on an island, but also must have the patience to let the action come to him. A false step or a lunge by a left tackle could see the defensive end use a rip or swim move, break free and pressure the pocket.
"A mauler has the ability to attack the defensive lineman, as the tight end and fullback (when used) can plug the gap. The right tackle is usually used more in combo blocking and double teams, so I don't mind a guy with shorter arms there, if he has a devastating hand punch to boot."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.