Shows nice burst and straight-line speed off the edge to challenge the corner. Flashes potential as a bull rusher, able to deliver blow to offensive tackle and get him off-balanced. Able to make the inside counter move. Shows burst and speed to make plays on the backside pursuit. Able to make the stop at the point of attack. Can make the quick swim move inside against the tight end, shoot the gap and make stops in the backfield. Can play with his hand off the ground.
Lacks the top edge speed and not really a threat to dip the shoulder and turn the corner. Can be slow reacting off the snap and doesn't play with a high motor. His spin move is mostly ineffective. Too easily redirected by tackle when trying to make his inside counter move. Needs to improve his hand usage on the bull rush. Doesn't like to fight off blocks and is too easy to chip and cut on the edge. Struggles to get leverage vs. the run because he lacks size. Doesn't do a good job getting off blocks at the point of attack. Doesn't play with good recognition and will lose outside contain against the run. Not a great tackler in space when it comes to taking down a scrambling quarterback, as he doesn't do a great job breaking down and tackles too high. Not comfortable when dropping back in coverage.
A productive three-year starter that stepped up his production this past year due to the injury to linemate Greg Romeus. Finished senior year with 52 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 9 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles, and 15 hurries. His two previous years as a starter he combined for 87 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 10 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 23 hurries. He missed the bowl game this past January due to December elbow surgery. He was arrested last July after being involved in a fight in which he threw a man threw a glass door at an art gallery. He was pepper-sprayed by police and initially charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, although he eventually pled guilty to disorderly conduct and was suspended 2 weeks following the incident. Previously known as a good guy as he earned a bravery award for helping an elderly woman from a house fire in his native Florida.
Sheard made plays at Pitt and was a good complementary pass rusher to Romeus the past few years. But he doesn't consistent make impact plays this past year and is fairly one-dimensional guy. He doesn't have the size or top-notch edge speed to really love his chances of being an impact pass rusher at the next level. He's more on par with a situational pass rusher. His lack of ideal size and good speed mean that he can get looks at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but he's a work in progress there. He's just not very natural when playing in space whether that's in coverage, or defending the run on the outside. And I don't think he's a good enough tackle or shows enough recognition to really like his chances there down the road. If he can develop more pass rush moves, particularly if he improves his bull rush, I'll like his chances as a defensive end much more. But he's not a great run defender and probably can't be trusted to be a starter on the outside because of that especially when you consider his pass rush potential is too limited to make up for it. I think he's a situational pass rusher that you're probably hoping at best is a 4-6 sack guy, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's more of a 2-3 sack guy most years. The upper end of his potential if he can develop is probably a good complementary starter like Alex Brown, but he's more likely I think to be a decent to good No. 3 or No. 4 guy in a rotation more like a William Hayes or Brian Robison.
Sheard can help out the Falcons rotation, but he's not really a strong candidate to be a starter. Going forward, he could potentially be their second best pass rusher opposite Kroy Biermann, but he's not a guy that I would suspect to be more than a 3-5 sack guy in Atlanta. As a rookie, he could potentially push Lawrence Sidbury off the roster and contribute as a No. 4 defensive end, but he's not likely to make a significant contribution. In his second and third year he should start to contribute more off the bench, but he's probably more of a No. 3 candidate in those years than someone that can be a trusted starter. Eventually he may wind up earning a starting spot, but probably more because the Falcons lack better options than him being considered a true asset.
Sheard is a mid-round prospect that may be overdrafted because he was a productive player and the lack of depth at defensive end this year. The highest he should go in the draft is a late third round pick, but I think he offers better value as a fifth round pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Rush: 3.0
Point Of Attack: 2.5
Scouting reports of the defensive ends in the 2011 Draft.
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