Indianapolis Colts: What Team Is Getting With LB Kelvin Sheppard

By Eric Smith
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts finally decided to part ways with 2010 first-round linebacker Jerry Hughes. They grew vastly impatient with his development and finally were ready to start over. The Colts traded Hughes Monday afternoon to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

Sheppard has had more success in the NFL and is one year younger.

In his two seasons in Buffalo, Sheppard has made 150 tackles and two sacks. He’s appeared in all 16 games both seasons and proved to be a very reliable linebacker that gives it all hes got.

That’s the exact opposite as Hughes.

Hughes couldn’t find the field and was often injury prone. If he wasn’t injured his lack of playing time was all due to not panning out. He didn’t play a full season until last year in a season where he was supposed to thrive.

The Colts drafted Hughes as a hybrid linebacker and hoped he’d convert well to a defensive end backing up both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. He couldn’t ever grasp that position and looked like a bust.

The past offseason everyone thought he’d have the ability to possibly start and get more playing time as the Colts shifted to the same type of defensive scheme he thrived in at TCU. Instead of contributing he was often out of position and seemed just a step off despite having his best season of his career.

Now, the Colts parted ways and got a guy in Sheppard who also knows the scheme and gives way more effort. Sheppard is a lot quicker than Hughes despite their similar stature. He won’t be out of position and can defend in coverage.

It’s likely Sheppard will back up either Mathis or Erik Walden while first round choice of this year’s draft Bjoern Werner will back the other up.

Despite taking a hit in the cap to get rid of Hughes the Colts got the better end of this deal.

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