Who’s got next? Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman

  • Sat Dec 31st, 2011 10:52pm
  • Sports

By John Boyle Herald Writer

RENTON — Richard Sherman has spent the past few weeks telling anyone who will listen that fellow cornerback Brandon Browner deserves a trip to the Pro Bowl.

And Browner, Seattle’s surprise signing out of the Canadian Football League, is indeed deserving of his teammate’s support. But when all is said and done, there’s a good chance that, years from now, Sherman will be the one with a few Pro Bowls on his resume.

When the Seahawks drafted Sherman in the fifth round, he sounded like an intriguing prospect who might pan out somewhere down the road. At 6-foot-3, he is unusually large for a cornerback, but Sherman moves well, and has great ball skill having spent his first three years at Stanford playing receiver. When injuries sidelined starting corner Marcus Trufant, then his backup, Walter Thurmond, Sherman was forced into action.

In his first start, Sherman more than held his own against Bengals rookie receiver A.J. Green, for the most part keeping the first-round pick in check while registering his first career interception. After the game, Sherman told 950 KJR that Green was overrated and that he “is just a lot of noise-talking and bad routes.”

With that, we were introduced to Sherman; both the talented cornerback and the young man with a sharp wit and no shortage on confidence. Two weeks later, after hearing a lot of trash talk from Baltimore receivers, Sherman unveiled a Dikembe Mutombo-like finger wag after a pass breakup.

And even if that style of play may put off some old-school football people, Sherman has good reason to be confident. A receiver for most of his career at Stanford, this is only Sherman’s third season at cornerback since high school. In eight starts, he has three interceptions and while he hasn’t been mistake free, he has more than held his own. Even so, he knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

“I think I could have played better in certain games,” he said. “I have a high standard for myself and the way I play.”

Really, you could probably flip a coin when trying to decide who might become a star out of Seattle’s secondary. Free safety Earl Thomas was an emerging star last year as a rookie, strong safety Kam Chancellor has burst onto the scene this season, and Browner has been incredibly good after a shaky start. All are in their first or second year in the NFL.

“We’re starting to show flashes of what we can be,” Sherman said. “We’re showing it doesn’t matter about the years.”

When Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll recruited Sherman — the Dominguez High grad turned Carroll and USC down because he “really wanted to make that known to people that you can go to Stanford from Compton” — the coach told the young athlete that, with his size, he could be an ideal shut-down corner.

Years later, Sherman appears to be on the verge of making that prediction look pretty smart.