It isn’t a Patriots draft class until an offensive lineman is added to it.
Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Patriots had selected an offensive lineman in seven consecutive drafts. They extended that streak late in Day 3, drafting Colorado tackle William Sherman with their second sixth-round pick.
Here are three things to know about the Patriots’ newest offensive lineman.
He played tackle in college, but is willing to play anywhere on the offensive line.
In his college days, Sherman played both left and right tackle for the Buffaloes. In 2018 and ’19, Sherman mostly played right tackle, earning All-Pac-12 honors in ’18, and was named Colorado’s best offensive lineman in both seasons.
He made the switch to left tackle in 2020, starting in that spot for all six of his team’s games, earning him second-team All-Pac-12 honors.
However, to improve his draft status, Sherman practiced playing guard and center. And it likely worked, as he was drafted by a team that likes to move its offensive lineman around.
“I got some practice as a guard and I’m confident that I’ll be able to make the switch to guard,” Sherman told reporters. “Really throughout this draft process, I’ve been snapping the football so I’ve been able to show teams that I can play all five. So really at this point, whatever position the coaches feel comfortable with me playing, I’m going to be excited to play there. I really don’t limit myself to one position now just because I’ve been really good at snapping so far and I’m confident in my ability to play guard and tackle. So now it’s just where the coaches see me, whatever helps the team. So, looking forward to it.”
Sherman also opened up about practicing how to snap the ball.
“I talked to my agent and we both had a talk about the high probability of me moving into the interior and we thought it would be really good for me to be able to advertise myself as someone who can play all five,” Sherman said of possibly playing center. “Me having film playing left and right tackle in college and with our knowledge of me moving into the interior, we thought it’d really be a good idea for me to start snapping. So, I got on the board and started learning from a center’s standpoint, would do all my position drills snapping the football throughout this draft process. Really once I declared, we thought it would be best for me to start snapping just because of the high probability of me moving into the interior.”
One of the players he’s looked up to is Isaiah Wynn.
Sherman already has some familiarity with one of his new teammates.
When Sherman was asked about what he knew about the Patriots and if there were any players on the team he studied, one name quickly came to mind.
“It’s kind of hard not to watch the Patriots in the postseason because they’re so consistent in getting there and I’m excited to now be a part of this,” Sherman said. “It’s crazy because one of the guys who I’ve watched is Isaiah Wynn just because he’s about the same size as I am, still playing left tackle too. So just trying to watch him play left tackle, mirror his feet, his technique, his hands, and all that stuff. So it’s crazy to actually get drafted by the Patriots now just because he was definitely a guy who I used to watch in college a lot.”
Sherman was even compared to Wynn by one of his college coaches.
“We actually had a coach come from Georgia and he talked to me about how Isaiah was the same size as me, played tackle, and was really successful in playing tackle, so I just started watching him a lot,” Sherman said. “He was right, he’s not the prototypical 6-foo-6-type of tackle but great feet and great technique, it does wonders for him. So that’s what I plan on doing as well if tackle is the position that I play.”
His biggest strength is as a run blocker.
Earlier in Day 3 of the draft, the Patriots added a running back, selecting Oklahoma’s Rhamondre Stevenson. In drafting Sherman, it seems like they bolstered their ground game even more.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein writes that among Sherman’s strengths is his ability to “stay after it in phase two (sustain phase) as a run blocker.”
Sherman agreed that this a strength of his.
“Running the ball is everything and when you can run the ball, you can do anything,” Sherman said. “You can pass, play-action pass, run screens. So I’m definitely excited for whatever scheme is drawn up and I look forward to giving it my all to be successful and help the team win games. I’m really excited. If running the ball’s our identity, that’s something that I’m going to look forward to. I’m sure the o-linemen that are there now are already excited about that and looking forward to that.”
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