2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | Kelvin Sheppard
Sheppard was a three star linebacker who elected to sign with the LSU Tigers, and would end up ending his career as one of the better linebackers to ever come out of LSU. He’s a three year starter and has played in every game since his redshirt freshman year.
Player Name: Kelvin Sheppard
Position: Inside Linebacker
Arm: 31 3/4
Sheppard is one of the most fundamentally sound middle linebackers in the 2011 NFL Draft. He does a great job of wrapping up ball carriers and he has improved year in and year out in coverage. His instincts and read and react ability have really helped him develop into a solid linebacker with excellent upside in the NFL. He takes good angles to the ball carrier and is a cerebral linebacker who will play with a quarterbacks head in coverage. His awareness is exceptional, especially in coverage and despite sometimes playing a bit stiff he’s made an impact as an all-around middle linebacker.
Sheppard’s issue is his athleticism. He’s not very quick, fast, or strong. When in pursuit, sometimes he’ll get caught up in traffic and struggle to get off of blocks. The 3-4 defense is not a good fit for him, although he could bulk up and attempt to play the position. Sheppard may switch to the outside in a 4-3 as well because of his solid coverage abilities, but he’ll have to play in space more often, and that could hurt him. He has to rely on his overall football knowledge and ability more so than his athleticism or lack thereof.
Sheppard could rise up draft boards, but his best fit is in the fourth round to be drafted as a project to groom. A team like Cleveland, Philadelphia, Denver, Chicago or Minnesota could look to select him as he could be a very good pro linebacker with the right coaching and work in the weight room.
NFL Comparison: Stewart Bradley