PROS: Shows some quickness upfield. Has a decent swim move and uses spin move to get off blocks. Shows good motor and range to make plays in pursuit. Can get leverage vs. the run and some push when he lines up at the nose tackle position.
CONS: Overly relies on the spin move, losing leverage, and can get caught with back to the ball. Appears to be tentative at times to engage with blockers, preferring to run around them.
OVERVIEW: He plays across interior of Arkansas front, able to play in a 3-man or 4-man front. Was very productive and player. PLayed end as a freshman, then split reps there and at tackle as a sophomore. Became full-time tackle after that. THe past three years, he has combined for 37 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. Sack production dropped from 7.5 as a junior to 2.5 this past year.
NFL FORECAST: Sheppard is a bit undersized and not great vs. the run except when he is making plays in pursuit. He could potentially play end in a 3-4 scheme that likes its guys to get upfield. He also fits in a one-gap 4-3 scheme, but doesn't appear to have the ideal quickness to be a terror in that scheme as a pass rusher. But unless he can bulk up and/or get better at defending the run, he's just a rotational player. Nothing really wows you about his game, but you know he's good enough to compete and carve out a niche somewhere on somebody's bench. He's a disruptive player that I don't think will be as productive on the next level as he was at Arkansas.
ATL FORECAST: He is disruptive enough to land a spot in the Falcons rotation. But he's a bit undersized, and I think is going to have to bulk up in order to stick permanently. He could push for time immediately as the fourth tackle because he's probably a better pass rusher than anybody the Falcons have currently on the bench. But he still needs polish, and I'm not sure he would get significant minutes until he improved vs. the run, which would likely take a year or two for him to bulk up some more.
VALUE: Sheppard is a nice fifth or sixth round pick for a team looking for a disruptive one-gap player.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 2.5
PASS RUSH: 3.0
Scouting reports of defensive tackles in the 2010 draft.
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