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Pittsburgh Steelers host another heart-and-soul type of wide receiver

Sterling Shepard was the go-to playmaker at Oklahoma and certainly deserves consideration in the second round.

Perhaps the Martavis Bryant suspension has swung the way the Pittsburgh Steelers view wide receivers back to the Hines Ward-like, heart-and-soul types.

A day after hosting Pharoh Cooper, the Steelers on Tuesday hosted Sterling Shepard, the great playmaker at Oklahoma.

Tuesday's lone visitor to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Shepard (5-10 1/4, 194, 4.48) caught 233 passes (14.9 avg.) for 26 touchdowns in his Oklahoma career. He also rushed 17 times for 109 yards and a touchdown and returned 30 punts at 7.4 yards per.

Shepard is a strong blocker (20 bench reps) with great leaping ability (41-inch vertical jump) and is considered smart enough -- with the type of savvy route-running -- to contribute immediately as an NFL slot receiver.

His father, the late Derrick Shepard, was a walk-on at Oklahoma and the program currently gives an award, named in his honor, to the program's top annual walk-on.

Derrick Shepard was a three-year starting wide receiver, punt returner and contributor to the 1985 national championship team. He spent five years in the NFL before becoming an assistant coach at Oklahoma and then Wyoming, but died of a heart attack while playing racquetball when Sterling was six years old.

Sterling Shepard is regarded as having strong football and personal character in addition to being one of the top receivers in the draft. His lack of size and blazing speed will likely keep him out of the first round, but Shepard's combination of route-running and hands won't allow him to get out of the second.

The Steelers have now hosted 26 of 30 allowed visitors (plus three local visitors). Only five of the 29 visitors have been offensive players.


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