We’ve ESPN’s rankings where San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead was listed in the top 10 among interior defensive linemen. Nick Bosa is viewed as a top-three edge rusher, despite only playing one season. In contrast, Fred Warner edged out Jaylon Smith to rank No. 10 among linebackers.
Onto cornerbacks, where we’ll definitely see Richard Sherman, right? Nope. As we’ve seen with the majority of these rankings, the NFL values physical traits. That’s why cornerbacks who are inconsistent, like Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, are listed, and Sherman is not. Marcus Peters is No. 8, and some voters put him as high as No. 3. I imagine that has caused quite the reaction. Here is Sherman’s blurb:
Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers: ”How smart he is makes up for the physical limitations at this stage. If he doesn’t win at the line, he can struggle with instant separators, in-breaking stuff. Or if hit vertically, can be tough to recover. But from a ball skills standpoint and football instincts, toughness, tackling, still one of the best.” — NFC exec
I agree with the recovery part, but don’t think there are as many physical limitations as the executive describes. Recency bias plays a big part, and if all you remember is that pass against Sammy Watkins, you think Sherman was bad in the Super Bowl. Sherman took his game to another level last year as a run defender, and his route recognition is as good as it gets. Would I have listed him in the top three? Probably not. Should Sherman be in the top 10? Unquestionably.
Sherman was seventh in the NFL in yards per pass allowed last year; he also had 11 pass breakups and three interceptions. You don’t accidentally make an All-Pro team. I knew Sherman wouldn’t be high, but not being ranked at all is a bit surprising.