Is a capable tackler that can make plays both in pursuit and at the point of attack. Has nice instincts and anticipation to sniff out the ball and make a play. Does a good job moving in space. Shows some scrappiness and physicality and likes to mix it up. Shows some burst off the corner as a blitzer. Is capable in coverage, getting good depth on his zone drops as well as being able to match up with tight ends and backs in man coverage.
Will overpursue at times. Can get caught up in traffic and not great when he is forced to take on blockers at the point of attack. Not a natural pass rusher when blitzing up the middle.
Sheppard split reps at middle linebacker last year with Jacob Cutrera, but also moved over the outside linebacker at times on those plays. He's listed at 245, but looks closer to 235 on tape. His frame suggests he might be a better fit at weakside linebacker. But shows enough range and ability vs. the run to think that with some added bulk he could play MLB in a 4-3 scheme. He is a capable every down player that looks like he'll be a good starter on the next level, just not sure if he'll be a great starter. Not sure he is a good fit in the 3-4, although he could play there.
What I Want to See in 2010:
I'd like to see him fill out his frame a little bit. The main thing he needs to work on is his ability to play the run at the point of attack. He could use improvement in terms of his coverage ability and other areas of his game. But it's not a big enough deal to think it will drastically hurt his chances on the next level.
Not sure he is going to be a first round pick unless he has a monster year. But is probably a good projection for the second or third round in next year's draft. Although in recent years, highly rated LSU linebackers have slipped in terms of the draft. But he doesn't seem to have those problems because he is capable in coverage and has good speed. I think he has the potential to be a Top 50 pick, but he'll have to really show better ability at the point of attack.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.