With the need for speed on the outside, might the Buccaneers consider adding Sterling Shepard in round two or three?
Vincent Jackson isn’t getting any younger. The Buccaneers need a “burner”, a wide receiver that can go vertical on a defense, and open up some holes in the short to intermediate game. A speed receiver will do a lot to limit the number of defensive players cheating to stop Doug Martin near the line. Adding a young guy that can fly would make a lot of sense.
More from Bucs Draft
- The Athletic’s early NFL Mock Draft has the Bucs taking a Top 5 QB in 2024
- Bucs front office reveals one thing the team missed during NFL Draft
- Peter King explains simple reason why Bucs passed on drafting Will Levis
- Mel Kiper Jr. hands out his official Buccaneers draft grade
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers undrafted free agents tracker 2023
As we said yesterday, the need for a pass rusher will outweigh everything else on day one, and that day two is the likely day the Bucs will add a receiver. Who might it be? Here is a guy that they should take a look at. Today, we spotlight Sterling Shepard.
Here are his college stats:
Receiving & Rushing
He also added 30 punt returns during his college career, which only adds to his value early in his career.
Although his breakout year was clearly his senior year, posting back to back seasons with 51 catches is no slouch either. Shepard caught the football and found his way to the house 26 times. He’s talented, no doubt.
WEIGHT: 194 pounds
ARM LENGTH: 30 3/8″
HANDS: 9 3/4″
At the Combine, his forty time was solid, coming in at 4.48 seconds. He can clearly make up for his short stature with a 41 inch vertical leap. He also is strong, topping the combine with 20 reps in the bench press, which will serve him well in hand to hand combat against NFL defensive backs.
Here are his strengths and weaknesses from his draft profile:
"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."
As always, time to go to the “eye” test and look at the video tape:
There is a great deal to like about Sterling. He has a lot of basics that teams will like, such as the fundamental of catching the ball with his hands. His route running is also very sharp. But, there are some intangibles that you don’t always see, that Shepard has. For one, he appears on that tape to commit to blocking, and not all receivers do it. You want your guy to commit, and Shepard does it. Secondly, he helps his quarterback by running with him when he scrambles out of the pocket. That’s how you get open for your QB when he is in trouble, and that jumped off of the tape to me.
He doesn’t see much press coverage in college. He is strong, but it remains to be seen if he can handle the hand to hand combat, until he actually does it. It’s not easy. Secondly, he does allow himself to get trapped on the sideline a bit when running down field, he will need to improve his technique a bit to get past that.
With all of that, Shepard would be a fine investment on day two. He could be the young guy the team is looking for to help Mike Evans, and ultimately take over when Jackson calls it quits.