Sterling Shepard   WR   Oklahoma

Sterling has excellent quickness and lateral agility to make opponents miss him in the open field and because of his vision and lateral agility, he is able to avoid big hits when being tackled. He can catch the ball when being contested and is fearless going over the middle. Sterling catches everything thrown to him with or without a defender all over him. He is mentally tough, football smart and understands down and distance situations. He reads zone coverage on the fly with the best quarterbacks and against singe coverage when he plays from the slot. Put him in motion and he is a match-up nightmare. He is quick more than fast, but donít think for a minute he canít take it to the house because he will play faster when someone is chasing him. What I like the most about Sterling is his Velcro like hands to catch the ball and football intelligence. Add to that his explosive lateral agility and you have the recipe for an impact receiver for the team that selects him in this draft.

Sterling is vertically challenged, which of course that becomes a concern in this day and age of big receivers. However, that doesnít mean Sterling canít impact if used correctly. Sterling will not impact if he is used as an every down receiver outside the hash marks. He is a slot receiver or the type of receiver that has to go in motion to get the mismatches that will allow him to get off the line of scrimmage. If you move Sterling around he will impact; keep him at one receiver spot and you will lessen his ability to impact.

Sterling worked mostly from the slot in his college teamís offense. He also worked well with his quarterback and moved the chains just about every time he was needed. He is smart and understands how to work with his quarterback to gain the needed yardage to impact for his team. Sterling has the instincts that you need be a slot or move receiver as I like to call them. It takes knowledge of the whole offense and reading defense to be an impact slot receiver because a lot of times you have to adjust your route and that adjustment of the route has to be in tune with what your quarterback is reading. Good, smart, instinctive slot receivers are hard to find. Some of them can impact for a game or two, but to be a threat in every game and one that requires an opponentsí defensive coordinator game plan because you are a consistent threat, makes your teamsí offense that much more explosive. A move receiver doesnít have to be a great blocker, but if he is a willing blocker and can help seal the edge, he becomesa even more valuable. Sterling knows this and will help seal the edge when his team runs the ball. The Patriots have made a point to find receivers with Sterlingís athletic talents, mental toughness and lateral agility for their offense and receivers with like Sterling have been very successful showing the rest of the NFL just how impacting that style of receiver can be.

Drew Boylhart  FEB.2016