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Eagles' Russell Shepard - This Year's UDFA Surprise? (1 Viewer)

cstu

Footballguy
Rookie WR Shepard 'dominating' Eagles camp

August 5, 2013, 11:00 am

Russell Shepard, who went undrafted out of LSU, finds himself with a chance to start opposite DeSean Jackson. (USA Today Images)

Russell Shepard planted himself in front of the TV and watched the draft. Not just the first round. Not the first few rounds.

The whole thing.

He watched 254 players get drafted. None were named Russell Shepard.

“I made sure I watched every pick, from the first pick to the last pick,” Shepard said. “That was a thing that made me stronger, that made me a better individual and a better person and more determined.

“Because I knew I could play this game. I knew given the right situation, given the right opportunity, I could be a good asset to a team.”

Ten practices into his NFL career, he’s off to an impressive start.

“The guy’s dominating this camp,” said college teammate Bennie Logan, the Eagles’ rookie defensive lineman. “I gotta admit. He’s making unbelievable catches, he’s really going all-out. You see the fire that’s burning in him.”

With Jeremy Maclin out for the year, Riley Cooper off somewhere getting help and B.J. Cunningham released with an injury waiver, Shepard has found himself working with the Eagles’ starting offense at wide receiver across from two-time Pro Bowl pick DeSean Jackson.

Running with the starters in August and starting in September are two different things, but Shepard has certainly opened up a lot of eyes going into the preseason opener Friday against the Patriots at the Linc.

“I’m just trying to make the team,” Shepard said. “I’m just an individual who’s green to the league, and I feel like I’ve gained the confidence of my teammates and coaching staff, and just trying to show them that I can be a part of this team, whether it’s on special teams or catching balls or blocking.

“Whatever I can do to make this team better. And I feel like coming in with that mind set has allowed me to get more reps than the average undrafted guy.”

Damaris Johnson has tremendous speed and a year of experience, but he may be a little too small to be out there on a full-time basis with Jackson. Arrelious Benn is a former second-round pick and has experience, but he’s battled injuries for a couple years now and has only been through one full practice so far this camp. Jason Avant is a dependable veteran, but at this point in his career is best suited to the slot.

Right now, it’s Shepard’s job to lose.

“He has great speed, he runs great routes, he has a good set of hands,” Michael Vick said. “He knows how to play football instinctively and that’s what you’re always looking for, a guy you don’t have to teach everything.

“I think the coaches are doing the best to put him in situations where he can thrive. He understands what he needs to do to put himself into position to make this football team, and I’m excited for him.”

Shepard arrived at LSU as a highly recruited quarterback, but bounced around different positions in Baton Rouge, first playing running back, then cornerback, then finally receiver.

He rushed for 733 yards, had 565 receiving yards and scored five touchdowns on some loaded Tiger teams.

Versatility is a tremendous asset in the NFL, but on draft day nobody was quite sure what he was, and 29 wide receivers were taken while he watched and waited.

“Playing several different positions kind of hurt me in college because scouts didn’t really know which position I could be,” he said.

“But it helps me now because I’m able to do several different things. Get on kickoff and make a tackle, get in the backfield and block, catch balls. It’s weird how God’s plan works. They say God works in mysterious ways, and maybe it hurt me on draft day, but maybe it’s helping me now.”

Logan, selected by the Eagles in the third round, couldn’t believe it when his friend wasn’t taken.

“He’s got a chip on his shoulder because he feels like he should have been drafted,” Logan said. “But everything happens for a reason, and he’s doing all he can right now to let the coaches know he’s a player, he’s here to work and get better and make this team.

“Russell hasn’t surprised me at all. I knew what kind of person Russell was. The guy works hard, he’s dedicated to the job. He’s a craftsman. Every day he comes to practice and gets better, finds a little thing to get better at.

“He walks around with a football every day, just working on grabbing the ball, throwing the ball, just getting a feel for the ball, and as you can see, the hard work and dedication is paying off for him.”

Shepard, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, worked in the slot during spring minicamps but has been practicing exclusively outside since Maclin got hurt.

He’ll have to perform in the games to realistically have a chance to make the team, but he’s off to a terrific start.

One thing is certain: Shepard certainly looks and acts like he belongs.

“You prepare, you stay humble, you work and you come out and give it your all and play full speed all the time,” he said. “You’ve got to trust your preparation and just continue to get better and feel like you belong here.

“It’s an opportunity to go out and try to make this team. To show that I’m a part of this team, that I can be a part of this team, that I can help benefit this team.

“Everybody here is here for a reason. We all have ability and God-given talent to be great football players, it’s just the ones who take advantage of the opportunity are going to be the ones who will be successful.”
 

ConnSKINS26

Footballguy
He had some controversy where he claimed the Eagles signed him during the draft, right? He told teams when they called him in the last round or two to tell him they had him in mind, that he was already an Eagle lol.

Something like that. Made me remember his name. Seemed like a really versatile guy when I looked into him at the time, and he's proving it in camp.

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
Posted this in the Eagles thread.

Pretty much every season, before almost any game, any conversation with LSU fans about who is the most underutlized player it was Shepard.

I think he was a top 10 national recruit out of HS, pretty near the no. 1 in Louisiana.

He played WR, slotback, wildcat QB, returned kicks, fast, fast, fast and talented. Unfortunately he ended up with the most offensively backward big time college coach there is, Les Miles.

So he remained under cover before the draft and now... he appears to have landed with the right coach for his skills and with Maclin and Cooper capacitated by injury or self-inflicted wounds he might just have the opportunity.

 
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ConnSKINS26

Footballguy
He had some controversy where he claimed the Eagles signed him during the draft, right? He told teams when they called him in the last round or two to tell him they had him in mind, that he was already an Eagle lol.

Something like that. Made me remember his name. Seemed like a really versatile guy when I looked into him at the time, and he's proving it in camp.
And the reason I mentioned this is that it's obvious that the Eagles contacted Shelard early in the process, which means they really wanted him.

Kelly has also recently lamented the size of his two top WR's right now, Desean and Damaris at 5'10 and 5'8 respectively. He said the best guys would start, but it's obvious he wishes he had a guy with more size. Shepard could be that guy, with his size and how athletic he is, and how well he's showing. He's clearly Kelly's guy.

 

Long Ball Larry

Footballguy
I was just thinking about this today, when it was mentioned on the radio that Cooper is listed as number 1 on the depth chart. Johnson is behind Jackson, and I'm not sure that they will be on the field that much together, because they are both small and the Eagles will likely be in a lot of 2 or even 3 TE sets. The competition for the other WR position is Momah and Benn, who has been coming along slowly. Seems like there is certainly a chance.

 

SWC

Bromigo
there will never be another samkon gado brohans he was a true american inspiration story take that to the bank brochacho

 

Bigboy10182000

Footballguy
I was just thinking about this today, when it was mentioned on the radio that Cooper is listed as number 1 on the depth chart. Johnson is behind Jackson, and I'm not sure that they will be on the field that much together, because they are both small and the Eagles will likely be in a lot of 2 or even 3 TE sets. The competition for the other WR position is Momah and Benn, who has been coming along slowly. Seems like there is certainly a chance.
And I havent heard a good word about either of these guys

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
I was just thinking about this today, when it was mentioned on the radio that Cooper is listed as number 1 on the depth chart. Johnson is behind Jackson, and I'm not sure that they will be on the field that much together, because they are both small and the Eagles will likely be in a lot of 2 or even 3 TE sets. The competition for the other WR position is Momah and Benn, who has been coming along slowly. Seems like there is certainly a chance.
And I havent heard a good word about either of these guys
I believe Kelly has praised both recently (over the weekend?). Don't know if either is actually a threat to start.

 

ROYALWITCHEESE

Footballguy
I was just thinking about this today, when it was mentioned on the radio that Cooper is listed as number 1 on the depth chart. Johnson is behind Jackson, and I'm not sure that they will be on the field that much together, because they are both small and the Eagles will likely be in a lot of 2 or even 3 TE sets. The competition for the other WR position is Momah and Benn, who has been coming along slowly. Seems like there is certainly a chance.
And I havent heard a good word about either of these guys
I believe Kelly has praised both recently (over the weekend?). Don't know if either is actually a threat to start.
. Benn only recently resumed practicing. I would think he's the best option. At least he has shown a little. Either way, with no true threat at WR2, this season could get ugly. Don't let DJ miss time too.

 
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ATC1

Footballguy
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/30/russell-shepard-says-he-signed-with-eagles-during-draft/

Every year, at least one player admits that a team engaged in shenanigans near the end of the draft, striking a deal with the player as a free agent before the draft was over.

Last year, it was quarterback Chandler Harnish, who said he had a deal with the Chargers before the Colts took him with the last pick in the process.

This year, it’s LSU receiver Russell Shepard, who claims that he agreed to terms with the Eagles before the draft ended.

I actually took myself off the draft board during the draft,” Shepard told WNXX radio, via LouisianaDaily.com. “Teams started calling me probably in the middle of the sixth round asking me ‘Is it true that you’ve signed with a team already?’ and I actually got it out of the way before the draft was over, because that was the perfect fit for me.”

The host asked for clarification, and Shepard gave it.

“I signed with them before the draft was over,” Shepard said, explaining that after he fell through round five he decided to focus on the Eagles. Shepard believes he’ll play receiver, running back, and Wildcat quarterback in Philly’s offense, and that he’ll return kicks and punts and play gunner on the punt team.

Shepard also said that Eagles coach Chip Kelly personally called Shepard at the beginning of the sixth round to explain that the Eagles couldn’t draft him because the team had lost some picks via the trade up to get quarterback Matt Barkley at the top of round four.

If this is all true, Kelly and the Eagles could be losing some more draft picks.
I'm sure it has been discussed before, but how is it even possible to agree to a contract before the draft is over?

 

jamil

Footballguy
Posted this in the Eagles thread.

Pretty much every season, before almost any game, any conversation with LSU fans about who is the most underutlized player it was Shepard.

I think he was a top 10 national recruit out of HS, pretty near the no. 1 in Louisiana.

He played WR, slotback, wildcat QB, returned kicks, fast, fast, fast and talented. Unfortunately he ended up with the most offensively backward big time college coach there is, Les Miles.

So he remained under cover before the draft and now... he appears to have landed with the right coach for his skills and with Maclin and Cooper capacitated by injury or self-inflicted wounds he might just have the opportunity.
Yup, he was a big time recruit coming out of hs. Top ten national, #1 dual threat, #1 in texas. Followed him cause he came out of Houston. Seemed like right when he got to lsu they started moving him around. He was behind Jefferson and lee at qb and didn't even seem like he got a shot there.

 

ATC1

Footballguy
As far as Shep, he was recruited as a dual QB out of Texas. He could not make the right read and decisions, so was tried out as a slot guy and RB. He could not make the transition learning how to play a new position with the route running and learning the plays.

 

cstu

Footballguy
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/30/russell-shepard-says-he-signed-with-eagles-during-draft/

Every year, at least one player admits that a team engaged in shenanigans near the end of the draft, striking a deal with the player as a free agent before the draft was over.

Last year, it was quarterback Chandler Harnish, who said he had a deal with the Chargers before the Colts took him with the last pick in the process.

This year, it’s LSU receiver Russell Shepard, who claims that he agreed to terms with the Eagles before the draft ended.

I actually took myself off the draft board during the draft,” Shepard told WNXX radio, via LouisianaDaily.com. “Teams started calling me probably in the middle of the sixth round asking me ‘Is it true that you’ve signed with a team already?’ and I actually got it out of the way before the draft was over, because that was the perfect fit for me.”

The host asked for clarification, and Shepard gave it.

“I signed with them before the draft was over,” Shepard said, explaining that after he fell through round five he decided to focus on the Eagles. Shepard believes he’ll play receiver, running back, and Wildcat quarterback in Philly’s offense, and that he’ll return kicks and punts and play gunner on the punt team.

Shepard also said that Eagles coach Chip Kelly personally called Shepard at the beginning of the sixth round to explain that the Eagles couldn’t draft him because the team had lost some picks via the trade up to get quarterback Matt Barkley at the top of round four.

If this is all true, Kelly and the Eagles could be losing some more draft picks.
I'm sure it has been discussed before, but how is it even possible to agree to a contract before the draft is over?
Teams offer deals to players before the draft is over. Shepard assumed he wouldn't get drafted at that point and said he had 'signed' with the Eagles.

 

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