Despite Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown holding the two starting spots at offensive tackle, the position was an under-the-radar need for the New England Patriots heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Neither Wynn nor Brown were under contract beyond the upcoming season at the time (Wynn’s fifth-year contract option was since picked up, though), while the backup options behind them were all unproven commodities.
And yet, the Patriots waited until the sixth round to pick an offensive tackle. The player in question was Colorado’s William Sherman, who is a raw prospect and might actually have a higher ceiling on the interior than the outside. Regardless of where New England plans to use him and how he fits onto the depth chart, he has something that Wynn or Brown have both lacked recently: durability.
With that said, let’s take a look at his injury history and find out what it means from the Patriots’ perspective.
2020 (Colorado): In the second-to-last game of his collegiate career at Colorado, Sherman stayed on the ground after getting rolled into while blocking. He walked off the field under assistance, but eventually returned to the game after missing a few snaps in the fourth quarter. The apparent lower-body injury did not impact his availability for the remainder of the contest against Utah, though, and also did not limit him in the season finale against Texas two weeks later.
What this means for the Patriots
Despite the injury scare versus the Utes, Sherman finished his career in Boulder having appeared in 30 of a possible 30 games over the last three seasons. Along the way, he was on the field for more than 2,000 offensive snaps — including 836 of a possible 850 during the 2020 season. Needless to say that he proved himself a reliable and durable player for the Buffaloes at the left tackle position.
As a result, the Patriots should feel good about Sherman entering the NFL level. While he has plenty of work ahead of him from a technical perspective, his durability is not a concern. Given that three of the other five offensive tackles under contract have missed considerable playing time due to injury recently — Isaiah Wynn, Trent Brown, Yodny Cajuste — this is certainly a positive.