After the season-ending ACL tear of Jeremy Maclin, the Philadelphia Eagles are in desperate need of some help at wide receiver. They need look no further than Russell Shepard, an undrafted rookie with all of the talent and tools to be a sparkplug in the NFL.
When it comes to Eagles new head coach Chip Kelly, offensive firepower is invaluable. The mastermind behind one of the most prolific offenses in college football history, Kelly is hoping to bring his high-flying attack to the league. A player like Shepard is the type of dynamic difference-maker that fits the head coach’s approach all too well.
A jack of all trades, Shepard is simply dangerous with the ball in his hands. The 6’0’’, 196-pounder was a dynamic reverse runner at LSU and makes too much sense as a gadget player in Kelly’s offense.
The best part of the deal is that Shepard has been improving significantly on his abilities as a pass-catcher, something that he was far from an expert at during his collegiate career. Since arriving for training camp, Shepard has been staying late after practice to work on the Jugs machine, softening his hands in the process. His effort and determination has made him stand out above the rest of the young receiving corps.
Shepard also brings the type of versatility that Kelly covets into his players. The former Tiger played five different positions during college – wide receiver, running back, quarterback, cornerback, safety – and offers intrigue all over the field.
Depending on how training camp goes, Shepard could push Jason Avant for his spot on the roster. He’s an electric talent out of the slot, and could provide Michael Vick with an exciting option in the passing game.
The Eagles found a hidden gem in Shepard, who could be one of the most productive undrafted rookies in the NFL this year. If anything, they discovered a potential-laden talent who could evolve into an offensive staple in the not-so-distant future.