Last season was rough for New York Giants receiver Sterling Shepard. It was the first year that Shepard was playing on a big new deal. He was supposed to be the main player to step in for Odell Beckham Jr., who the team traded before Shepard’s new contract. And he was supposed to be the main weapon for Eli Manning and then, after the change happened at the position, Daniel Jones.
In reality, Shepard had a much tougher time. He missed a lot of the year with concussions. The first one didn’t raise too many eyebrows. Concussions happen in a rough sport like football, after all. But when Shepard picked up another concussion soon after his return, there was more concern from the fans.
There was even talk about whether or not Shepard should retire. But maybe it’s time to dismiss all that talk. Based on the reports coming out of Giants training camp, Shepard is one of the top players the offense has right now.
Sterling Shepard a hard cover during training camp
The Giants were back in pads at training camp on Monday and Shepard was one of the standout performers. In fact, he earned the title of toughest cover from the team website’s report on the day’s activities during camp.
Sterling Shepard continues to be the toughest cover amongst the wide receivers at camp. He seems to be even shiftier than we’ve seen him in prior seasons. Even in small spaces, he is creating a lot of separation. In a non-contact tackling simulation drill, he put a move on a defensive back and went past him completely untouched.
This comes during a time when the status of Darius Slayton, the team leader in receiving yards and touchdowns from last season, is unknown. Slayton didn’t practice on Monday. Head coach Joe Judge aid that the trainers are dealing with the player but didn’t give much more than that.
If there’s going to be injury problems with Slayton going into the start of the season, which is under a month away, a healthy Shepard would be a big help to the Giants in filling the missed production.
Shepard has never had a 1,000 yard season. He had a career low in yards during the last season, but that’s understandable given the amount of time he missed. The year prior to his concussions, he had a more admirable 872 yards.
Based on his performance in camp, maybe it’s not too much of a stretch to predict Shepard having his first 1,000 yard year in 2020 while bouncing back from the lows of last year?