With the 2021 NFL Draft approaching, the Cleveland Browns will have their own tastes and board based on what they are trying to do in every phase of the game. Based on what is known about what they want to do, some prospects stand out as fits including Jamien Sherwood, the safety from Auburn who declared as a true junior.
Age: 21 (Born January 12, 2000)
Measurables: Listed 6'2" 220 lbs
Production: 44 solo tackles (9.8 percent), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 pass deflections in 2020.
As a traditional deep safety, Sherwood is ordinary bordering on mediocre. His agility and straight line speed are relatively average and he doesn't read consistently. When ball carriers are coming at him and he's the last line of defense, he can hesitate and make ugly mistakes on angles, ending up out of position and unable to even contest the play.
In 37 games, he has just one interception recorded his freshman year and 11 pass deflections in all.
Auburn used him to do a little bit of everything and there are areas where Sherwood excelled which is where he could appeal to the Browns.
Rather non descript as a free safety, he excelled near the line of scrimmage. Long arms and the necessary physicality, Sherwood can operate as a net as a tackler. Isolated in space, it can be difficult to get around him. He also does a nice job using his long arms to fight through trash to get to the ball carrier. This is particularly valuable as he can blow up wide receiver screens.
Sherwood may not be quite big enough to play linebacker, but if the opponent takes him lightly, he can punish them for it, able to make plays in the backfield. He also can be a threat on the blitz. He may not have top end speed, but he is pretty explosive and can get to his top speed quickly.
Sherwood is also far more confident in man coverage and is well equipped to cover tight ends. Along with that, he's good chasing down tackles going away from him.
If the Browns were to boil down Sherwood to what he does well, he looks tailor made for the rover position. Giving them a player who specifically covers tight ends and adds to athleticism that can potentially negate the need for a linebacker. He's shown the ability to be a reliable tackler and he's got experience playing on coverage units in special teams, which only adds to his overall value.
For a team that wants to get faster, improve coverage and still be credible to defend the run, addressing this rover position is important. If they don't get a player like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first round, players like Sherwood may not be able to do quite as much, but they could be a great way to address the position at a faction of the price.
Where the Browns Might Select Him: So much depends on how many teams employ positions like a rover in their defense, something that seems to be increasing. Teams that don't likely won't have Sherwood on their board at all, so they might want to get him in the fourth round, but it's possible he could last a little while longer on day three of the draft.
I had a chance to speak with Sherwood for a few minutes. There was an audio issue (my fault) that killed my recording, but I wanted to ask him to read what I wrote about him so he'd have the opportunity to push back on anything, He looked it over briefly and I heard him let out an audible "huh" to himself, so I liked him immediately.
Sherwood pushed back on the notion that he took poor angles, saying he only missed one against South Carolina and the play was called back for a penalty. He also disputed my point about any hesitancy.
Sherwood said he likes to come down hill and make tackles, operate in the box and make plays at the line of scrimmage. He notes teams think his ability to cover tight ends is valuable.
When I asked him what went into the decision to declare as a true junior, he noted he's only played one year, but credits the Auburn coaching staff for getting him prepared, that he felt like he was ready, wanted to be strong in his decision.
For Pro Day, Sherwood thinks he'll be right around 215 pounds at 6'2". He's not making any bold proclamations, just focusing on having the best workout he can. He said teams are mostly excited to see him out there and asking him where he sees himself in the NFL, but that strong safety, playing near the box and weak side linebacker have come up in conversations.
My apologies for the audio issues. Sherwood was a pleasure to speak with and I hope he can find success in the NFL.