What should the Ravens address?
Here is one reason why Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder. There were 21 cornerbacks taken in the 2011 draft before Sherman, including Jimmy Smith of the Ravens. While Smith was a first-rounder at No. 27 overall, Sherman waited until the fifth round (154th pick) to hear his name called.
That history fuels Sherman, which became evident during an interview with Erin Andrews of FOX Sports following Sunday’s NFC championship game. Sherman had just made a game-saving deflection, tipping a pass intended for Michael Crabtree of the 49ers into the arms of linebacker Michael Smith for an interception. Sherman had a personal beef with Crabtree, who said he did not think Sherman was the best cornerback in the NFL before the game. When Andrews interviewed Sherman right after the game ended, his post-game rant became an instant classic.
“I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman yelled. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me…Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”
Only three corners were taken in the first round of the 2011 draft – Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals (No. 5), Prince Amukamara of the Giants (19th), and Smith. Peterson is also one of the NFL’s best corners, while Smith is coming off his best season with the Ravens. After a slow start to his career, Smith began playing like a first-round pick this season.
However, other corners drafted well ahead of Sherman have been busts. Ras-I Dowling, taken by the Patriots with the 33rd pick in 2011, only lasted two injury-plagued seasons in New England before being released. DeMarcus Van Dyke, selected with the 81st pick by the Raiders in 2011, has already been released by both Oakland and the Steelers, and signed a futures contract with the Chiefs this month.
Sherman has a long memory, and he has made teams regret underestimating his talent coming out of Stanford. Yes, Sherman is brash and outspoken, but he is also an elite cornerback going to the Super Bowl. For the next two weeks, Sherman will not let people forget that.