WR STERLING SHEPARD, OKLAHOMA

WR #3 Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma

5’10” – 193 lbs. – 4.50e

Has been an important contributor since arriving, starting four of thirteen games played as a freshman before stepping into the starting lineup the following season; became more of a downfield target as a junior and more of a workhorse as a senior. Undersized receiver who lines up as both a flanker and a slot receiver; probably better-suited to the latter position at the pro level because of his physical limitations. Volume target whose route tree is pretty diverse but does a lot of his work on screens and short patterns such as whip routes; however, offers some additional value as a downfield target because of his ability to get separation running wheel routes from the slot. Creates separation with his quickness and gets up to speed in a hurry; will break some big plays but lacks the top end speed to hit home runs. Takes advantages of big cushions or zones, finding his way into soft spots rather than running himself into coverage. Will work the middle of the field, avoiding big hits by diving when contact is imminent. Has some ability to gain yards after the catch, due in part to his agility (albeit with some exaggerated moves which create wasted motion) but also because he’s often fed the ball with plenty of space to work with; frequently falls forward at the end of runs and is also capable of running through some arm tackles. Doesn’t have too much experience working the sidelines against press coverage, nor is that something he’ll likely be asked to do; however, footwork allows him to avoid some attempts at jamming. Does a nice job of making catches away from his frame, especially for a smaller receiver; tracks the ball well and has some impressive leaping ability which partially compensates for his lack of size. Feisty blocker who works hard to create rushing lanes for teammates; impressive ability to sustain against bigger cornerbacks. Also served as the team’s punt returner as a junior and senior, with limited success. Teams may have some concerns about his program pedigree, coming from a school whose spread offense has manufactured highly productive collegiate receivers who failed to find success at the pro level. Isn’t quite as quick as former Sooner Jalen Saunders or as polished as Ryan Broyles, but represents something of a middle ground between the two and could consequently end up going somewhere between them, possibly in the third round or so. Will need to measure up to his listed size and test well in order to be a comfortable second-day pick, however.

Games watched: Louisiana Tech (’14), Tennessee (’14), Baylor (’15)

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