Na Brown Award watch: Russell Shepard has the early lead

Kevin C. Cox

Through a week of training camp the leader in the clubhouse for the Na Brown Award, by far and away, is Russell Shepard.

If you aren't familiar with BGN's yearly "Na Brown" award, it is the title we award to the Eagles camper who comes out of almost nowhere to cause a big stir at camp and raises his expectations unreasonably high in the process. Previous winners include guys like Hank Baskett, Riley Cooper, and Lorenzo Booker.

It has become somewhat of a negative thing to earn, because more often than not, the hype eventually turns the player into a disappointment. But for now, it means one thing... that the player is doing good things and getting noticed.

That player so far has been LSU's Russell Shepard, the former big time high school recruit at QB who became a WR in college, went undrafted, had an incident in which he "told other teams not to draft him," and was eventually scooped up by the Eagles.

In no way is this meant to be a disparaging thing to Shepard, who is doing all the right things and playing well, but here is some of the pub he has gotten so far:

From Tim McManus of Philly Mag:

Michael Vick singled out Russell Shepard on Saturday, saying that out of all the young receivers on the roster, he is the one that has stood out the most.

Little did Vick know how much that would mean to the undrafted rookie out of LSU. Shepard played quarterback through high school. Guess who he tried to emulate on the field?

"My whole persona and way I played the football game was to be like Michael Vick," said the Texas native following Sunday's practice at the Linc. "For my idol, my favorite player of all time, my mentor to say some good things about me, words can't explain the way that makes me feel."

From me over at Philly.com:

Russell Shepard had two diving catches today. One was on a short laser that he had to react quickly to. The other was about 20 yards down the field. Shepard was often the last guy off the field during OTAs and minicamps, taking as many reps as he could get on the Jugs machine. It may be paying off for him.

From Bo Wulf at the Mothership:

All told, Shepard has probably been the Eagles' most prolific wide receiver since he arrived at the NovaCare Complex following the NFL Draft.

From Bob Grotz at the Delco Times:

The undrafted Shepard has been one of the surprises of training camp. Eagles veteran Jason Avant saw something in Shepard during the offseason workouts as he strongly suggested he stay after practice to catch passes from the Jugs machine.

Whatever it is, it's working. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman mentioned Shepard as one of the options he wants to evaluate before deciding if there is enough depth at receiver in-house to offset the loss of Jeremy Maclin to a torn ACL.

From Zach Berman of the Inquirer:

Shepard is listed as a wide receiver, but his chances of making the team go beyond his position. When Kelly preaches versatility, it helps to have a player such as Shepard - an athlete who played five positions in college, with enough intriguing skills despite no true position.

Ifeanyi Momah would likely be my #2 choice at this point in training camp.

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