Will Sheppard Draft Profile | Vanderbilt, WR, Scouting Report

    Will Sheppard has all the length in the world to be a threat at the NFL level, but does his scouting report include enough of the other attributes?

    Vanderbilt is far from a powerhouse college football program. At times, that can make things very difficult for potential NFL Draft talent they possess. Will Sheppard will have to figure out a way to show us that he’s worthy of premium capital despite playing in a situation less conducive to success than a car with a melted battery. But what does his scouting report look like?

    Will Sheppard Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’3″
    • Weight: 198
    • Position: Wide Receiver
    • School: Vanderbilt
    • Current Year: Senior

    Sheppard hails from Mandeville, La. He was a consensus three-star recruit, with overall rankings anywhere from the 73rd-best wide receiver in the country to No. 22. Vanderbilt was the only SEC school to offer Sheppard a scholarship.

    Once with the Commodores, it took Sheppard time to adjust. He played in seven games as a freshman but caught just two passes for 30 yards. As a sophomore, Sheppard caught 43 passes for 577 yards and four touchdowns. He saw an uptick in production as a junior, catching 60 passes for 776 yards and nine TDs.

    He was easily AJ Swann and Mike Wright’s favorite target in 2022 and about the only good thing the offense could get going in a 5-7 season.

    Will Sheppard Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Inspector Gadget Length
    • Very good inside and outside-shoulder tracking
    • Great finishing rate on back-shoulder throws
    • Strong, competitive hands that fight through contact at the catch point
    • Sets defenders up well on slants
    • Seriously, his length is a cheat code

    Weaknesses

    • Very simplistic and limited offense disallows for an entire route tree
    • Must become more efficient against press
    • Faster than he is explosive (long strider)
    • Struggles to finish through significant contact
    • High-hipped athlete who struggles to gear down
    • Lackluster contact balance and creativity post-catch

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    While there could certainly be a role for Sheppard at the NFL level, only offenses with certain quarterbacks could utilize him properly. His play style requires a level of physicality that he struggles to show at the line of scrimmage and at the top of routes. Although Sheppard displays aggression when attacking the ball, he must get stronger.

    Sheppard will be difficult to evaluate properly. The Commodores are overmatched in the SEC, which makes lower-level competition the only time we get to see a fair fight. The issue with that is that Sheppard himself is likely not facing NFL talent in those instances, so he should look utterly dominant.

    MORE: Vanderbilt Commodores Preview — Roster, Prospects, Schedule, and More

    Sheppard’s only 100-yard game in 2022 came against Northern Illinois. Six of his nine touchdowns came against Hawaii, Elon, and Northern Illinois.

    Against Hawaii, again, he posted two TDs, adding six catches for 68 yards in the Commodores’ 28-25 win. But Sheppard also returned a punt for 27 yards that game, so creativity with the ball in his hands will be something to keep an eye on in 2023.

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