After the Seattle Seahawks picked him in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Sherman embarked on a career that helped him make five Pro Bowls while earning three First-Team All-Pro selections.
The Patriots didn’t seem to think concerns about Sherman’s speed could be rectified, and they ended up using their second-round selection on Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling, a name that equally infuriates both Patriots fans and Sherman himself.
After all, he was looking forward to potentially playing for Bill Belichick.
In a piece for The Undefeated, ESPN analyst and former NFL cornerback Dominique Foxworth claims that the Patriots were interested in selecting Sherman with the first pick of the second round, but they used the pick on Dowling, who is one of the worst draft picks in Patriots history.
Foxworth’s piece shows that Sherman was disgusted and disheartened by the Patriots passing on him, as the only other team that told him they would consider picking him in the second or third round was a Baltimore Ravens team that already allocated draft picks to the defensive back position.
“With the first pick of the second round, the Patriots selected Dowling. ‘Awww,’ went Sherman’s shrinking contingent. His agent told him that the Baltimore Ravens were the only other team that had shown interest, but they had already used a first-round pick on Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith.”
Richard Sherman would’ve been much better for the Patriots
To be fair to New England, Dowling was considered a lock for the first round after recording eight interceptions in three years at Virginia before injuries slowed him down. Unfortunately, his injury troubles continued in the pros, as he was limited to just nine games with the Patriots, recording 11 tackles in his pro career.
Sherman might not have been the best scheme fit for what Belichick wants to do, but the talent disparity between the two players is off the charts, and Sherman might have a second Super Bowl ring on his fingers, at least, if New England has taken him.
It’s easy to claim anything in hindsight. Foxworth is claiming that Belichick wanted Sherman badly in the second round, yet he passed on him four other times before Sherman was selected. While one of those selections turned out to be Marcus Cannon, drafting Sherman would’ve been better than Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, or Ryan Mallett.
Regardless, if the story is indeed true, the Patriots passed on a future Hall of Fame cornerback for a guy who had 11 more tackles in the NFL than you or I have. Brutal.