Richard Sherman: Pick of the litter

Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ ballhawk/cornerback, intercepted another pass in Sunday night’s 35-6 win over the Cardinals. That gives him 24 in his first four seasons (with a game to go), tying him for third most since the 1970 merger. Here’s where he falls on the list:

MOST INTERCEPTIONS, FIRST FOUR SEASONS (SINCE 1970)

Years Defensive back, Team Int
1977-80 Lester Hayes, Raiders 25
1981-84 Everson Walls, Cowboys 25
1981-84 Kenny Easley, Seahawks 24
2011-14 Richard Sherman, Seahawks 24
1978-81 John Harris, Seahawks 22
1976-79 Mike Haynes, Patriots 22
1994-97 Keith Lyle, Rams 22
1988-91 Erik McMillan, Jets 22
2002-05 Ed Reed, Ravens 22

Sherman’s total is even more impressive when you consider how much lower interception rates are now (largely because of all the “adjustments” the NFL has made in the rules). In Lester Hayes’ first four seasons, 5.03 percent of all passes were picked off. In Sherman’s first four, 2.71 percent have been. Big difference.

When you look at it that way, Sherman has had the best first four seasons, interception-wise, of any defensive back in the last 45 years. His 24 INTs represent 1.26 percent of all picks from 2011 to 2014:

BEST INTERCEPTION PERCENTAGE, FIRST FOUR SEASONS (SINCE 1970)

Years Defensive back, Team Int League INT %
2011-14 Richard Sherman, Seahawks 24       1,899 1.26
1981-84 Everson Walls, Cowboys 25       2,162 1.16
1981-84 Kenny Easley, Seahawks 24       2,162 1.11
1994-97 Keith Lyle, Rams 22       2,007 1.10
1992-95 Darren Perry, Steelers 21       1,974 1.06
1988-91 Erik McMillan, Jets 22       2,080 1.06
2002-05 Ed Reed, Ravens 22       2,096 1.05
1977-80 Lester Hayes, Raiders 25       2,425 1.03
1991-94 Aeneas Williams, Cardinals 20       1,950 1.03
1988-91 Eric Allen, Eagles 21       2,080 1.01
1997-00 Sam Madison, Dolphins 21       2,081 1.01

It might seem like we’re splitting hairs here, but note the gap between first (Sherman) and second (Walls) — 0.1 percent — is the biggest of all. (Next biggest: .05 percent between second and third.) The gap between top and bottom, meanwhile, is .25 percent. That’s a pretty sizable separation.

In other words, receivers may not be able to separate themselves from Sherman, but Sherman sure can separate himself from other DBs.

Source: pro-football-reference.com

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman does this to opposing receivers, too.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman does this to opposing receivers, too.