At 6-foot-3 and 302 pounds, William Sherman does not possess the prototypical size to play the offensive tackle position. And yet, the Colorado product entered the NFL draft with 27 career starts on either the left or the right side on his college résumé.
Sherman may lack the ideal frame for his listed position, but he found inspiration from another undersized tackle — one who will be a teammate of his moving forward: New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who himself measured at just 6-foot-2 3/4 during the pre-draft process but still ended up as a first-round selection back in 2018.
“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. Just trying to watch him play left tackle, mirror his feet, his technique, his hands and all that stuff. 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 said during a media conference call shortly after getting drafted by the Patriots.
“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. He was right: He’s not the prototypical 6-foot-6-type of tackle but great feet and great technique, it does wonders for him. That’s what I plan on doing as well if tackle is the position that I play.”
Sherman had to wait until the sixth round to hear his name called earlier this month, in part because of his uncertain projection entering the next level. The Buffaloes used him exclusively at tackle — he played 1,239 snaps on the left and 879 on the right — but he is seen as a realistic candidate to be moved inside to guard due to his smaller frame.
The narrative, of course, was the same surrounding Wynn when he entered the NFL after his college career at the University of Georgia. Wynn eventually was kept at offensive tackle in New England, and has since established himself as the club’s starter on the left end of the line.
Sherman, meanwhile, is open for a move if that is what coaches want from him. He trained at guard and even worked at center before the draft, trying to maximize his value for his new team.
“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. 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,” the 21-year-old said.
“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.”
The Patriots, who selected Sherman with the 197th pick in the draft, obviously have plenty of depth and talent all over their offensive line. Wynn and Trent Brown are locked in as the starters at the tackle positions, with the interior — starters Michael Onwenu, David Andrews and Shaq Mason; backup Ted Karras — projecting as one of the best in the NFL as well.
Where Sherman fits on the depth chart will be seen, but the youngster is open to doing whatever is asked of him.
“Really at this point, whatever position the coaches feel comfortable with me playing, I’m going to be excited to play there,” Sherman said. “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. It’s just where the coaches see me, whatever helps the team. So, I’m looking forward to it.”