The first thing that pops out about Shepard is his quickness. Coming out of the slot, he gets off of the line of scrimmage very fast, and will blow right by the nickel cornerback with his great lateral movement. He has very natural hands, and will rarely drop the football. Along with his pass-catching ability, he is also an above average blocker for a slot receiver. Finally, Shepard, who was a star track athlete in high school, had an incredible 41” vertical jump, which is outstanding considering his height.
There aren’t many negatives about Shepard, but one trait that isn’t very comforting for the Giants is his size. Standing at a mere 5’10”, he’s going to have a problem playing on the outside rather than the slot. While he is very quick off of the line, he isn’t incredibly fast for a slot receiver, as he ran a 4.48 second 40-yard dash.
The biggest question is how Shepard is going to fit into the Giants lineup. The return of wide receiver Victor Cruz is a mystery. If Cruz is able to return to the player he once was, he will be handling the slot. With that said, it’s very hard to imagine Shepard on the outside due to his very small frame. Shepard and Cruz are both limited to the slot, which has to make you wonder, do the Giants believe in Cruz? It will be interesting to see how Giants’ head coach, Ben McAdoo, will incorporate both Cruz and Shepard into the offense.
The selection of Shepard can turn out to be a great pick if Cruz is unable to return to his old-self, and assuming Shepard evolves into the player the Giants are hoping he will. However, if Cruz returns to his old-form, it will be hard to look back and say that Shepard filled a need. All in all, the Giants definitely needed to draft a receiver in the draft, but doing so in the second round was not ideal, as they have other positions of greater need. With players like Leonte Carroo, Pharoh Cooper, Tyler Boyd, Braxton Miller, and Michael Thomas still on the board, they would likely have been able to select a receiver in the third round of similar talent to Shepard, earning the Giants an overall grade of a B.