Packers: Darrius Shepherd Makes Another Push at 53-Man Roster

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 06: Darrius Shepherd #10 of the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 06: Darrius Shepherd #10 of the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

For the second year in a row, wide receiver Darrius Shepherd makes another push at the Green Bay Packers’ final 53-man roster.

Few Green Bay Packers’ fans knew of the undrafted rookie from North Dakota State last summer, but Darrius Shepherd quickly became a training camp darling. With his ability as a return man and catching just about everything in sight, Shepherd would make the Packers’ initial 53-man roster.

Through the first few weeks of the season, as expected, he didn’t see any action. However, in Week 6 against Detroit, Shepherd was called upon, and to put it mildly, things did not go well. As Green Bay tried to battle back, Shepherd would muff a punt, and then as the Packers were threatening to score, a pass deflected off of him and wound up in the hands of a defender.

For the next two games, Shepherd looked incredibly timid while fielding punts, and after the team’s Week 8 matchup against Kansas City, he was cut before eventually being re-signed to the practice squad.

With a young, undrafted player such as Shepherd, the Green Bay Packers easily could have moved on from him. But they didn’t, and Shepherd is doing everything in his power to prove that the organization made the right move bringing him back (via Packers News):

"“I was super grateful to the Packers organization,” Shepherd said, “for the players personnel and the coaches believing in me, giving me another opportunity to come back, and just believe in me, let me grow and learn from that. I’m just trying to prove everybody that believes in me right.”"

In an offseason where the Packers receiver room has dominated the conversation, Shepherd was forgotten about by many. Yet just as he did last summer, he continues to make plays, and once again, Head Coach Matt LaFleur is noticing:

"“Shep’s done an outstanding job,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think he’s again showed up, consistently separating and has caught the ball pretty well for the most part. I know there’s a couple of plays here and there — just like every guy — that they’d always like to have back. One thing you know about Shep is he’s going to prepare to the best of his ability, and he’s been able to take what he knows from the classroom and put it on the field.”"

In one of Green Bay’s most intense practices of the season that took place last Sunday, Mike Spofford of notes that Shepherd made a handful of catches, including one on third-and-5 from the 21-yard line that went for a touchdown. This was followed shortly by a third-and-11 conversion that set up first and goal for the offense.

As it stands now, it’s safe to say that Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown will make the final roster, and I’ll throw Tyler Ervin in there as well since he has spent all of camp working out with the receivers. That likely leaves one spot left for Shepherd, Jake Kumerow, Reggie Begelton, and a few others.

While this won’t be an easy decision by any means for LaFleur and Company, from the sounds of it, Shepherd has outperformed Begelton, and he also comes with far more upside than Kumerow, who is the oldest receiver on the roster.

Next. Packers Final 53-Man Roster Prediction. dark

What is likely remembered the most from Shepherd’s rookie season are those blunders against Detroit. But he has learned from those mistakes, he was given another opportunity, and he has capitalized with what could be another final roster selection:

"“After that Detroit game,” Shepherd said, “I faced a lot of adversity personally and had to just overcome it. Growing physically, mentally, emotionally, all that kind of stuff, just learning to overcome. Taking the offseason just to grow and come back and be confident in my play and myself, and I’m excited to show what I do in practice on the game field hopefully.”"