Carolina Panthers Prospect Profile: Sterling Shepard

The Carolina Panthers will be getting Kelvin Benjamin back this season but they may want to add more weapons for Cam Newton. Brandon Croce takes a look at wide receiver Sterling Shepard and how he might fit in the Panthers' offense.

College Stats/Awards

Season Games Receptions Receiving Yards Average Yards Per Reception Receiving Touchdowns
2012 13 45 621 13.8 3
2013 12 51 603 11.8 7
2014 11 51 970 19.0 5
2015 13 86 1288 15.0 11

*Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference

Combine Results

Event NFL Combine
40-yard Dash 4.48 seconds
Bench Press 20 reps
Vertical Jump 41 inches
Broad Jump 123 inches
3-Cone Drill 7.0 seconds
20-yard Shuttle 4.35 seconds

*Results courtesy of NFL.com

Strengths

  • Explosive

The first thing that jumps out watching Sterling Shepard is the fact that he is explosive and picks up yards in huge chunks. He finished his collegiate career averaging 14.94 yards per reception, with that number jumping to 17 yards per reception over his final two seasons. He also uses this explosiveness on special teams and has experience as punt returner, a position he should compete for on whichever NFL team drafts him.

  • Not Afraid of the Middle of the Field

He may not be the tallest player on the field but he certainly could be considered one of the toughest. He is only 5'10" and 194 pounds but that doesn't stop him from making the tough catches and taking the big hits going across the middle of the field.

  • Willing Blocker in the Run Game

He doesn't let his size stop him from being an active blocker on running plays. The game against the University of Tennessee early in the season, on almost every running play Shepard who could be found engaged blocking a Vol defender.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Size

Shepard tries not to let his size limit him, however it is nearly impossible to eliminate with his play on the field. It remains to be seen how Shepard will perform against bigger cornerbacks, especially when they jam him at the line of scrimmage.

How he fits with the Panthers?

Watching Sterling Shepard could bring back memories of another tough wide receiver, who may not have been the biggest player on the field. There is certainly similarities between Shepard and the Carolina Panthers all-time leading wide receiver, Steve Smith.

In terms of this offense, Shepard would have the inside track to start for this offense as the slot wide receiver. He would be an explosive weapon that Cam Newton would be able to utilize on deep throws with his strong arm. The fact that he also is willing to block on run plays would be a nice addition to the Panthers, who were one of the top rushing offenses a season ago.


Panther Insider Top Stories