For any of you who listen to the Around the League Podcast, you know that Marc Sessler and Dan Hanzus are often joined by guests who have recently been in the news for one reason or another. Last week, they spoke to Ahmad Bradshaw about his release from the Giants, and this week, they spoke to Richard Sherman about how he wants to be perceived around the league.
He also talked about other issues such as Seattle's success and the NFL draft. Sherman had choice words about the draft and its process to say the least. When asked about being drafted in the fifth round, here's what the All-Pro player had to say (via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com):
That's all it is, is a sham. The players that are going to be hyped, are going to be hyped. That's why you have half the first round as busts every year. You can go from now until the end of time. Guys have somehow maneuvered their way into the first round, maneuvered their way into the spotlight.
After I initially listened to the interview, I thought to myself, I wouldn't go as far as calling the draft a sham, but the second-year cornerback was definitely onto something. According to Not That Noise of SB Nation, very few first-round picks even make one Pro Bowl appearance throughout their career. The current average is 1.4 first-round Pro Bowl selections per draft class.
After reading that number, I was incredibly surprised to say the least. Before finding the exact number, I knew it had to be low, but I would have never guessed it was that low. That number goes to show just how inaccurate of a science scouting is and how, sometimes, the draft is a total crap shoot.
Trying to predict a player's success from one level of competition to the next is ultimately the reason, so many coaches and front-office executives lose their job. Additionally, so many organizations draft players based on their ceiling and potential upside. By no means is this the wrong approach, given the fact I'm not a scout, but I feel teams often draft players who don't always fit their specific scheme.
Moreover, Sherman goes on to explain that teams often listen to the media too much during the pre-draft process:
As long as (draft analysts) talk about him all day all night, all day, all night, it's kind of like, "Oh, that's why he went in the first round." Then when they're doing nothing in the league nobody notices, they just don't say much about them. "Oh, we didn't get that one wrong, he needs time to develop." Then three years later, "Still time to develop."
Another valid point that makes you wonder just how much the media influences certain organizations. Obviously, not every organization falls into the media's trap of hyping certain players, but to think no team does it would be naive.
Who's to blame here, the media or the teams who let the media influence them? Too often, draft analysts are not held accountable for their predictions and projections. The good ones admit when they were wrong about a player and move on to honing their craft.
The players who are hyped and perform at a high level right away are exceptions to the rule, considering it doesn't happen as often as we expect it too. However, what about the players who are prepared but don't have the hype machines behind them?
They are the ones who get drafted and are considered mid-round steals. People also refer to them as a "diamond in the rough." That's just the nature of the beast though because that's how life is. Some are fortunate enough to meet the right people or be in the right place at the right time, and Sherman acknowledged that:
Maybe I didn’t have the right people pushing me (in college). Maybe I didn’t meet the right people. If I got (ESPN draft analyst Mel) Kiper saying I’m the No. 1 corner, then I’m the No. 1 corner.
It would be easy to come away with the impression that No. 25 comes off as a bit bitter, but to me, that's not the case at all. During the podcast, it felt as if Sherman was just shooting the breeze and speaking straight from his heart.
Being bitter and having a giant ship on your shoulder are two different things. Bitterness doesn't motivate him; his love of the game and desire to be the best corner to play in the NFL is what fuels him. Everyone uses different motivational tactics in life, this is just his way of striving to be the best.
Sherman didn't know the right people before the draft, but he's doing everything possible to get his name out there now. He has appeared on every sports network since the season ended, yet you can't blame him.
Someday, he wants to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, while donning that prestigious gold jacket. Bravo to him for starting his PR campaign at such a young age.