For the second straight year the New England Patriots took a versatile offensive lineman with their sixth round pick.
Last year the choice was Michael Onwenu, a certified home run who will play a significant role in New England for years to come, this year it was Colorado offensive lineman William Sherman, who they took with the 197th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here is your first look at why.
Depth piece at four offensive line spots
Though Sherman exclusively played tackle in his 30 collegiate games, many project him as a guard at the next level due to his short stature. If you pair that with the Patriots perceived need for depth at guard and tackle, his selection knocks off two needs with one move.
Sherman split time at both left and right tackle, perhaps making for an easier transition to New England where they expect their lineman to be versatile enough to play on both sides. Though Justin Herron and Ted Karras look to be the top reserve options on that line, Sherman could be the eighth man who can fill in on emergency situations. Think Jermaine Eleumunor towards the latter half of 2020.
A developmental piece for the young offensive line coaches
Former offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia was known for his ability to elevate the offensive line no matter the talent. Current offensive line coaches Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo had a pretty good start in 2020, helping Michael Onwenu turn into a pro-bowl level player at both guard and tackle.
William Sherman is a player that the young offensive line coaches will be expected to elevate if he does make the final 53 man roster. Teaching a rookie how to play four different positions is no small feat. They did it in 2020, and will be asked to do it again in 2021.
How would you grade the Patriots’ decision to draft William Sherman at No. 197?
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