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Draft

Jets add DT Nathan Shepherd in Third Round

With their second pick of the 2018 NFL draft in the third round (72nd overall), the Jets have taken Fort Hays State Defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd.

Projected to go in round 2 of the draft by NFL.com, here’s what the site had to say regarding the 315 lb Ontario, Canada native.

Player Bio

 A native of Ontario, Canada, Shepherd was a 205-pound linebacker in high school before attending Simon Fraser University. Over the next couple of years, he continued to grow, eventually playing in nine games as a redshirt freshman for the Clan in 2012 (20 tackles, seven for loss, 2.5 sacks). Eventually, he made his way to Kansas to play for the Tigers after an FHSU coach saw his highlight tape. In 2015, Shepherd was a third-team All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association selection after starting all 12 games (69 tackles, five for loss, three sacks, two blocked kicks). He was a second-team all-conference pick the next season, posting 61 tackles, 9.5 for loss, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Shepherd ended his career with a second-team Associated Press Division II All-American senior campaign, also earning the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year award. He compiled just 38 stops in 2017, but 12.5 of those went for losses, including four sacks.
NFL Comparison: Akiem Hicks

Overview

Shepherd is raw, but he could be well worth a team’s time as a day two selection thanks to his NFL-caliber traits and his flashes as a pass rusher. Shepherd lined up inside in college, but may be better suited as a 4i or five-technique in a 3-4 front. While he won’t be ready early on, he has the ability to become a productive NFL starter and his practices at the Senior Bowl showed that he could handle the step up in competition.

Strengths

  • Looks the part in the pads
  • Has added almost 100 pounds to his frame since high school and he still has room for strength gains
  • Has tapered frame with good length
  • Self-aware
  • Diagnoses and works on his weaknesses
  • Plus athlete with flexible hips and good lateral quickness
  • His physical traits and athletic ability will be considered moldable clay by NFL evaluators and coaches
  • Flashes a big-time hand slap and hip flip to hurl himself around a blocker’s edge as a rusher
  • Athletic when pursuing in space

Weaknesses

  • Still very raw and has yet to get even a taste of the level of competition headed his way
  • His first couple of seasons could be redshirt years
  • Needs to develop a much better feel for blocking schemes
  • Allows down blocks to get too far into him
  • Tries to fight off double teams with force over technique
  • Hands need development to help unleash his potential at the point of attack
  • Unable to dominate his opposition as often as expected
  • Gets glued to blocks
  • Needs to play with more edge on the field

Following the departure of Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets had a need along the defensive line and they hope Shepherd fits the bill. You can read more about Nathan Shepherd in our forums.

This Article Was Written By Glenn Naughton

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Glenn was Born in the Bronx, New York and has followed the Jets religiously despite being stationed in several different countries and time zones around the world. He now resides in England and has been a JetNation member since 2005. Glenn will bleed green with the rest of us through the highs and lows.