Sometimes, it is all just hype.
After getting off to a hot start during Philadelphia Eagles’ OTAs and training camp, undrafted rookie wide receiver Russell Shepard has cooled off since the preseason arrived.
An electric player with the ball in his hands, Shepard went undrafted out of LSU this past April in large because of his lack of a true position. After playing receiver, running back, quarterback and cornerback in college while contributing on special teams, Shepard seemed to be a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense.
Still, the hype train is losing steam in a hurry.
Just ask Pro Football Focus, and you’ll understand why Shepard is suddenly on the roster bubble. Despite his strong training camp showing, the former Tiger has seen only 41 snaps in two games while racking up a -1.7 overall rating. He’s been generally ineffective, catching only one of his six targets for four yards. Not exactly the type of production you spend a roster spot on.
It’s starting to become rather obvious why Shepard went undrafted. He hasn’t found a way to be successful as a receiver in the Eagles’ offense and is on the verge of hitting the waiver wire.
At this point, it’s far from a done deal. The Eagles still have two preseason games to go, and Shepard should see considerable snaps in the final bout assuming he makes it past the first round of cuts. Considering that he’s currently ahead of players such as Jeff Maehl, Nick Miller and Ifeanyi Momah, Shepard should be around until the final week of the preseason. The pressure will be on for him to fend off Greg Salas for the final spot on the receiver depth chart.
Shepard was a longshot from the get-go, and could soon watch his once-promising opportunity with the Eagles meet its demise.