After the Webzone's recent roundtable discussion about the 49ers' 2018 Breakout Candidates, it comes as no surprise that others view 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman in a similar fashion. 49ers Webzone's TJ Bice picked Sherman as his top breakout candidate:

But I think perhaps an even a bigger reason Sherman is going to have a breakout year: the dude has a chip on his shoulder the size of Mount Rainier after being released. I can't remember a player--in any sport, not just the NFL--who is more self-motivated by sleights (real or perceived) than Richard Sherman.

NFL.com journalist Adam Schein recently posted his assessment on the NFL's make-or-break candidates: Guys at a crossroads in 2018 and it came at no surprise to see the 49ers' most profiled free agent acquisition making the list. Sherman made his list at number seven with the following comments:

I love John Lynch bringing this Stanford product back to the Bay. I still think Sherman can play and lead. I think he can show the young Niners the ropes and how to establish a winning culture.
But what if I'm wrong? What if Sherman is a shell of his former self? What if the Achilles isn't the same? What if he lost many steps? The downside -- and Sherman's age (30) -- puts this situation squarely in make-or-break territory.

There are two sides to the coin and one can make a case for either view. Sherman was a 2011 fifth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks and has since put up outstanding numbers as one of the league's premier playmakers; Sherman has accumulated 367 tackles, 32 interceptions, and 99 passes defensed while also making the Pro Bowl from 2013-2016. Having said that, Sherman missed the majority of last season with a ruptured Achilles, leading to his eventual release by the Seahawks' front office. Sherman has plenty of mileage with 99 career starts and is coming off a major injury at age 30.

Is the glass half empty or half full? Since signing with the 49ers, Sherman has become an instant leader in the secondary as an active participant in the offseason program.

  • Justin Wong
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    Justin Wong has been writing for the 49ers Webzone since 2017 while also running an NFC West blog and podcast called Just The West. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @JustTheWest on Twitter.