The next chapter of the Sterling Shepard story is going to happen in New York as the former Oklahoma Sooners star wide receiver was selected in the second round with the No.40 overall pick by the New York Giants in the NFL Draft on Friday night.
Shepard had an incredible four-year career with the Sooners, totaling 233 catches for 3,482 yards and 26 touchdowns. He punctuated his time in Norman with 86 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns in helping lead the Sooners to the college football playoff last season.
His story has been well told by now, trying to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, Derrick Shepard, was also a star at OU and also played in the NFL. Derrick Shepard died in 1999, and now Sterling will have a chance to carry on that legacy, while building one of his own.
Shepard is a great example of the NFL Draft process working. With every event, he moved up more boards. The Senior Bowl. The NFL combine. OU pro day. Shepard brought his best to each event to position himself in the best spot possible this weekend.
“I think he’s gonna be fabulous,” OU head coach Bob Stoops said last week. “He has all the qualities of being a great pro in that, first of all, he’s mature, accountable, responsible in every way in the way he works and everything off the field.
“Secondly, I think — I don’t think; I know — he’s as competitive as any player I’ve had in 17 seasons. He’s gonna compete. And then he has the skill. He has the ability. He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s great with his hands. He’s tough. He has all the qualities to be an explosive player at that level.”
The question marks were there in terms of his top-end speed, but Shepard silenced those critics with a 4.48 40-yard dash time at the Combine. Add that with his 41-inch vertical leap and his mental/physical toughness, and there were no more checkboxes left unmarked for his future.
Shepard is the first former Sooner to be drafted this weekend but surely won’t be the last as OU is expected to have another major weekend of former players being chosen.