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Eagles Draft Picks: Kansas blog provides insight on JaCorey Shepherd

An insider's perspective on one of the Eagles sixth round picks from the 2015 NFL Draft: Kansas cornerback JaCorey Shepherd.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Kansas cornerback JaCorey Shepherd with a sixth round selection (No. 191 overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft. Bleeding Green Nation's Ben Natan profiled Shepherd recently, but I thought it would also be useful to acquire an insider's insight. In order to learn more about the Eagles' new defensive back, I reached out to Kansas Jayhawks SB Nation blog Rock Chalk Talk. David was kind enough to answer my questions.

1) What are his strengths?

Shepherd's greatest strength on the field is his instinct. He simply doesn't give up catches without a challenge. He was credited with 32 pass break-ups in his two years as a starter, and according to Clint Trickett (former West Virginia QB), Shepherd never once gave up a catch on a deep pass. I don't know if that's 100% true, but given his incredible ball skills, it's possible. Also keep in mind that he was brand new to the position when he converted to corner his sophomore year. His relative lack of experience only makes his ceiling that much higher.

2) What are his weaknesses?

His biggest weakness is probably as a tackler, where he's average at best even for a corner. Shepherd doesn't have great size, and doesn't play with a lot of physicality, so I wouldn't expect him to have a lot of success in jarring receivers at the line of scrimmage and knocking them off their routes.

3) Some have said that Shepherd was a "steal" for the Eagles. Were you surprised he fell to the sixth round?

I think the Eagles got a very good value by grabbing him in the sixth. I was expecting 4th or 5th round, based on his combination of skills and character (Shepherd became well known for his charity work and leadership). He had some hamstring issues going into the combine, and I can't help but wonder if affected teams' perceptions. I think it's telling that Mel Kiper had him in his "10 best available" starting all the way back in the 3rd round.

4) Shepherd didn’t have the best testing numbers. To what extent is his lack of athleticism a concern?

As I alluded to above, Shepherd's weaker numbers may be due largely to injury. A torn hamstring kept him out of the Senior Bowl, and was still limiting him at the combine and his pro day. Shepherd won't ever be the fastest player on the field, but I definitely wouldn't rely on his testing numbers as an accurate appraisal of his athleticism. Shepherd should have respectable speed and agility at the NFL level.

5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?

I'd be surprised if Shepherd isn't in the league a long time. With him being 5'11 and lacking elite speed, I won't make any grandiose predictions, but I do think he'll end up a solid starting #2 corner. His ball skills are special, and with him only having two years of real experience at the position, I think he'll get even better very quickly. It doesn't hurt that he's a great locker room guy who can be a leader on and off the field.


Thanks again to David. Make sure to check out Rock Chalk Talk.

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