Straight line speed is not his strength. He ran a 4.56 at his combine in 2011 but he isn't that fast in pads and may have lost a step as he is now 31 years old. His long strides eat space in short areas.
He dictates where the receiver releases by punching with long arms and opening his hips. Good hand placement on his jam. He is good at hand fighting with the receiver and getting in their way which throws off their route and timing. His feet sometimes get tangled up and cause him to lose a step if it's press-man. If the receiver blocks his initial punch he gets into trouble.
His change of direction is a little slow because of how tall he is. He mostly plays from a quarter turn with his back to the sideline so he can accelerate straight forward on in-breaking routes rather than flipping his hips. Not great side to side. Style of play doesn't rely on agility.
If he is beat over the top he has to hope for an underthrow. He gets beat badly when he fails to get his hands on a receiver. Does not have the speed to recover on pure speed routes. Can use his length to get a hand in and defend a pass at the last second. Makes some plays by not giving up even when he is clearly beat.
Very good at reading route combos. Fills and attacks in the run game. Reads through the receivers into the backfield. Film study and IQ let him process and make decisions quicker than most. Takes chances because he trusts his eyes and instincts which can lead to openings. Sometimes too passive on short routes.
One of the best tackling corners in the league. He doesn't miss often and he is fearless coming up and making a hit. Not very agile in the open field but his length helps him.
Positions himself perfectly so that the receiver only has one way to go. His size and length make him difficult to run around. He's not going to be able to carry a deep route or a long crosser against a speedy receiver. Uses his hands extremely well to make receivers slow down, throw off their route, and knock the ball away as it arrives. Doesn't really play man that much. Doesn't travel with #1 receivers, stays on one side of the field.
Excellent zone corner. Made his reputation in Seattle playing zone. Has great vision to read route combos and the QB in a split second. Always has good positioning. Not always as fast to break on the ball as he could be.
Turnover numbers have gone down in recent years. Had 0 INTs in 2018 and only 4 passes defensed. Has 32 INTs in his career and 103 passes defensed.
Had an achilles injury that ended his 2017 season. Only played 14 games in 2018.
He has confidence that some take as arrogance. He has been a leader since early on in his career. Very big personality that you love as a fan but hate as a rival. Never been in trouble but will speak his mind even if people don't like it. A league ambassador as a player and all around person. Founded the Blanket Coverage Foundation to give school supplies and clothing to low income students.
High IQ, preparation, and instincts. Unshakeable confidence, leadership, and veteran savvy. All combine to give him an "IT" factor.
One of the best in the game since 2011 and commands respect from opposing offenses. Play has slightly declined the past couple of years. Turnover stats are down.
Long and strong. Very good in both man and zone coverage. Elite intangibles, has a feel for routes that allows him to be in perfect position. Excellent at reading the offense. Great tackler and physical in coverage. Has a reputation as a ballhawk that earns respect from opposing offenses. Leadership and character. Veteran presence on a young 49ers team. Gets a lot of PBUs at the last second with his length and effort.
Struggles to match feet off the line and running stride for stride with receivers. Got burned a few times in 2018. Turnover numbers have declined. Confidence gets mistaken for cockiness or arrogance. Not very agile. Has missed games the last two years with injury. Won't be able to recover on deep routes. Only plays one side of the field most of the time. Doesn't follow a team's #1 target.
Lowest completion percentage allowed since he came into the league (47.7 %). Sherman is an aging superstar who is still effective and demands respect from opposing offenses. He is still adjusting to a new role in San Francisco with a very young team that isn't ready to contend for a super bowl. He isn't getting as much recognition as he has in recent years because the gaudy turnover numbers and team success are not there. However, I think he may have a few more opportunities as teams stop fearing him and he may have a bounce-back year in 2019. He may also be able to move to safety where he can use his vision and ballhawking instincts as well as his physicality in the run game. He would cover tight ends instead of receivers or sit in a deep zone and be able to read plays which would highlight his strengths.