Player Profile #76 – LB Kelvin Sheppard

Kelvin Sheppard was considered the heart and soul of the LSU defense over the last two years. There was a productive big man ahead of him in Drake Nevis, and a top-rated cornerback in Patrick Peterson behind him.

But it was Sheppard who was voted by his teammates as a team captain in 2010, and it was the fifth-year linebacker from Georgia that defensive teammates sought out for information on the Bayou Bengals scheme and assignment information. He played both inside and outside at linebacker and there’s some debate among NFL teams where he will be best suited for the pros.

Here’s his story.


FAMILY MATTERS

Kelvin Anthony Sheppard, Jr.

Born – January 2, 1988 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Family – Parents are Kelvin Sr. and Tamara Sheppard.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 1¾ inches.
  • Weight – 250 pounds.
  • Arm – 32 inches.
  • Hand – 9¾ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.7 seconds
  • 20-yard dash – 2.76 seconds
  • 10-yard dash – 1.66 seconds.
  • Bench press – 22 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 33½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 2 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Sheppard was a member of the graduating class of 2006 at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia. It’s part of the DeKalb County Schools. The Jaguars under coach Ron Gartrell produce a dozen or more Division 1 scholarship players each year and rank among the top 10 best high school football programs in the country.

He also played basketball and was part of the track team, running 200 meters and was a finalists in regional and county meets in the shot put.

FOOTBALL

2005 – The Jaguars went 12-2 and reached the state semifinals before losing 14-0 to Lowndes High. Sheppard was the defensive leader, as he finished with 102 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 INT for TD, 2 forced fumbles and 1 recovered fumble.

2004 – Stephenson finished 7-5 on the season, losing in the second round of the 5A state playoffs. Sheppard had 106 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INT and 2 recovered fumbles.

RECRUITING

At least half-dozen schools were in serious chase of Sheppard coming out of Stone Mountain: LSU, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. He made visits to LSU, Maryland and Tennessee, before committing to the Tigers in January of 2006.

COLLEGE

Sheppard graduated with bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in African-American Studies from Louisiana State University in December 2010.

He was named MLB on the 2010 All-SEC first-team defense. He played in 53 games with 30 starts, 311 tackles, 26 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 7 PBU, 6 FF, 2 INTs and 2 RF.

2010 – (Team captain) He started all 13 games, leading the team in tackles with 116. He added 11 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recovered fumbles. Third in SEC in total tackles. Vs. Alabama he had 10 tackles, a .5 sack, an INT and a RF in 24-21 victory over Tide. Had eight tackles in Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M.

2009 – Sheppard played in 13 games with 12 starts at MLB, leading the team and finishing fourth in the SEC with 110 total tackles. He added 8.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT. He had 13 tackles in three straight games, vs. Florida, Auburn and Tulane, plus seven tackles in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State.

2008 – He played in 13 games with five starts at WLB. Sheppard was second on team with 64 tackles, 4.5 TFL, .5 sack, 2 PBU and 1 forced fumble. He had 17 tackles against Mississippi and 6 tackles in the Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Georgia Tech.

2007 – Sheppard played in 14 games as the backup at weak-side LB (WLB). He had 21 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 forced fumbles and 1 pass broken up. He added 15 tackles on special teams.

2006 – As a true freshman he took a redshirt season.

 Year

 

G

 

S

Total

Tackle

 

TFL

 

Sacks

 

QH

 

Int.

 

PBU

 

FF

 

RF

2010

13

13

116

11

4

2

1

2

2

2

2009

13

12

110

8.5

1

1

1

2

1

0

2008

13

5

64

4.5

.5

0

0

2

1

0

2007

14

0

21

2

0

0

0

1

2

0

Totals

53

30

311

26

5.5

3

2

7

6

2

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Good straight-line speed and agility and has the athleticism to remain on the field on third down. He’s an aggressive run defender who does a good job of slipping blockers. He plays hard and fast both laterally and north and south. He has shown a nice burst off the edge on the blitz, although he was not asked to rush the passer very much. Sheppard has shown a good understanding of offenses and how his defense reacts.

Weaknesses – Scouts say he is not an instinctive player and thus gets himself in bad positions on the field. He almost always bites on play action and gets himself in positions where he can’t contribute to stopping the play. He’s not explosive enough that he can beat blockers with his first step or a move. Sheppard does not have the physical tools or techniques to be an effective pass rusher. Despite his aggressive nature, he does not play a hard-nosed style of defense. Although he’s a sure tackler, his stops don’t turn up on highlight reels for physicality.

Analysis – Most NFL teams seem to think Sheppard will play on the inside, rather than outside linebacker. More than a few teams think he’s really built to be an ILB in the 3-4 defense rather than a MLB in the 4-3. Scouts point to moments of disconnect from him at times on the field – he comes across as well-schooled in defensive concepts, but hesitates too much in his reactions during plays. When he doesn’t – play-action passes for example – he runs himself out of the play.


WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

An AFC scout said – “The kid is a player and he’s productive, it’s just hard to see where he fits, because he’s not a perfect match for inside, outside, weak side, strong side or middle linebacker. I think he’ll be an immediate contributor on special teams, but defensively he’s a jack of all trades and not outstanding at any one area.”

An NFC scout said – “We see him as very limited. We see him as an inside guy, although that’s something that we still debate.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“I just want to learn it all. Challenge me. I just want to be the best linebacker I can be, just not leave anything on the table.”

“I look at guys on Sundays like Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, who just dissect the offense, reading plays and just meeting the running back before they get the ball. I want to get to that point where I’m ahead of the game.”

“I take time to dissect the film. I take my playbook home. I do extra things to make sure I understand every concept at every linebacker position.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT HIM

Alabama QB Greg McElroy – “He was the heart and soul of that defense. I think he’s going to have a lot of success in the league and I look forward to following him.”

LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis – “As long as I’ve coached this game, I don’t know that I’ve coached a young man smarter than Kelvin Sheppard. He absolutely knows the game inside and out.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

Team captain – check. LSU – check. Durable –check. College degree – check. Productive – check. Leadership skills – check. Overall ability – not so fast. Sheppard has the resume that will attract the Chiefs, but there are doubts about whether he has the explosiveness to be the big hitter inside, or the pass rusher outside.

Comments are closed.



Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Categories

Other News

Archives


RSS


Pages

Home