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BlueInCanada
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OVERVIEW

Shepard wears the same jersey number (3) as his late father, Derrick Shepard, who lettered for the Sooners as a receiver in the 1980s. Despite his slight frame, Shepard's toughness, strong hands, and quick cuts make him the sort of in-space player NFL offensive coordinators want working the middle of the field. Shepards production greatly increased from his second-team All-Big 12 2014 season (51 catches, 970 yards, five touchdowns) to his USA Today second-team All-American senior season (86-1,288-11).

ANALYSIS STRENGTHS

Silky smooth with terrific route quickness. Plays with consistent play speed into and out of his breaks and can hit the gas out of his breaks to create instant separation for anticipatory throws. Runs variety of routes from the slot. Almost impossible to stay with his "whip" route. Clean with his double moves and if cornerbacks bite, is able to get over the top to track throws and run under them for the big play. Will adjust routes to ball placement. Not afraid over the middle. Born to catch a football. Just eight drops with 253 catches and is able to adjust to high, low or behind him for difficult catches. Loves to compete. Willing to jump into a cornerback and get after him as a blocker from slot. Takes pride in his work ethic and scouts say his personal and football character is extremely high. Was a talented basketball player and long-jumper in high school.

WEAKNESSES Not very big and lack of play strength will show up from time to time. Won't see as many free releases in pros. Strong cornerbacks with good feet can cause issues for him in press coverage. Can be redirected in his routes and will get trapped against the sideline at times. More quick than fast and reliant upon clever routes to get over the top against true speed. Not much of a catch radius. Can get too cute with amount of moves off release or underneath routes. DRAFT PROJECTION Round 2 SOURCES TELL US "I played against his daddy and he was really talented, but Sterling picked up where his dad left off and then took it way further. He's a great person and leader too. He's going to be a star in the pros." --­ AFC area scout NFL COMPARISON Tyler Lockett BOTTOM LINE

The similarities in backgrounds, playing style, production and football character and between Shepard and Seattle's Tyler Lockett are obvious. Shepard doesn't possess Lockett's explosiveness as a return man, but is a better overall receiver. With more and more teams using "11" personnel (3 WRs) as their base offense, Shepard's stock should be on the rise. Teams looking for a slot receiver who can make plays and rack up a high volume catch count on any given Sunday will find their man in Shepard.

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Some more info on Shepard, and why I really liked him as a player.

 

4.48 40 speed, but it's more about his quick cutting ability/superb route runner. All the football people were saying he's the one receiver that will come in and immediately make an impact, pro-ready route runner, said he runs the best routes in the class.

 

20 reps of 225... he's really strong as a receiver, and can block outside. 20 reps was the most of all receivers at the combine. To put that more in perspective, if you included all the tight ends at the combine, only two put the bar up more times than Shepard. If he was a linebacker, he would've tied for 12th, a very respectable number for a linebacker.

 

Incredible vertical of 41". This gives me some hope he can go up outside in the red zone and come down with a 50-50 ball. Vertical jump was the highest among all receivers at the combine.

 

9 3/4" hands... huge hands at 5'10". Those are serious wide receiver mitts.

 

Only real downside is he's a little undersized and his arms are short. But this guy is going to be a special play maker for the Giants.

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