CULVER CITY, Calif. -- We're not sure anyone has ever enjoyed being an underdog more than Richard Sherman.
The Seattle Seahawks cornerback was the 154th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, a reality that leaves a chip on his shoulder that can probably be seen from outer space. When Sherman spoke with "Around The League" on Friday morning at NFL Network studios, there was little doubt that perceived slight has played a role in the stellar beginning to his career.
We asked Sherman if his success somehow discredits the combine and draft process. More to the point: Does it prove the system to be a sham?
"That's all it is, is a sham. The players that are going to be hyped, are going to be hyped," Sherman said on the "ATL Debate Club" podcast. "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.
"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.'"
Darlington: A prospect to root for
You probably don't know anything about Walter Stewart, but you should. Jeff Darlington tells an inspirational story. More ...
We asked Sherman if being selected in the fifth round led to regrets that maybe he didn't play the draft game well enough to get noticed.
"No, not at all," he replied. "Maybe I didn't have the right people pushing me. 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.
"But it doesn't really matter if I play like the No. 1 corner, if I'm picking things off," he went on. "If he says I'm the No. 1 corner, I'm the No. 1 corner. If I would've got my name in those circles, how would things have changed?"
You can hear our entire interview with Sherman with the media player above.