Sheard racked up 52 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 2010 on his way to being named Big East Defensive Player of the Year. During his 3 years as a starter Sheard put up consistently good sack numbers each year and blossomed nicely in 2010 when teammate Greg Romeus went down to injury. Sheard spent a lot of time in Romeus’ shadow but he rose to the occasion last season and distinguished himself as a dangerous and talented player in his own right.
The Sporting News is most bullish on Sheard, rating him as the 4th best DE, and #12 prospect overall :
Sheard merits mid- to late-first-round consideration, has exceptional first-step explosiveness and agility coming out of his stance at the snap. Is an effective and consistent edge rusher. Can beat the blocker off the ball consistently.
Recently CBSSports Rob Rang has Sheard "mocked" to the Falcons with thier #27th pick, and says Sheard is seen by some scouts as a safer version of the similarly built and productive Justin Houston from Georgia.
So, why do I think he will be available at the top of 2nd round? Find out after the jump.
CBSSports ranks him 34th on their big board:
Underrated, Sheard raised his game.... likely to be taken between picks 20-45, will be more productive as a rookie than at least a few of the moe highly touted defensive ends of this draft. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
National Football Post rates himslightly higher as their 30th best prospect :
An instinctive defender who plays the run game with integrity and quickly is able to decipher plays and get his hands up in passing lanesAfter watching him on tape, I really think the guy will have the ability to be a solid NFL pass rusher who can reach the QB in a variety of ways.
He is 35th on ProFootballWeekly's big board: http://www.profootballweekly.com/2011/04/08/top-100-draft-prospects-regardless-of-position-2
Sheard is #45 on SportsIlustrated's big board:
Sheard has quietly been one of the better pass rushers in college football the past three seasons and is a defender who continually makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. He's displayed constant improvement on the field and should be very productive as a one-gap end at the next level.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/draft-2011/players/67929.html#ixzz1Jh8EKqih
Tony Pauline isn't so sure, rating him his 12th DE prospect, and 42 overall: Slow shedding blocks and can be controlled by a single opponent. Lacks great bulk and will be knocked from his angle of attack rather easily.
Finally, Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has him rated lowest, at #50: The concerns on the field center more around Sheard's root strength — if he can match it to his speed and intensity, he could be a dominant all-purpose defender just as adept at run-stopping as he is when he's chasing down a quarterback. Early on in his NFL career, Sheard may get shut out at the next level, and the extent to which he finds that to be a learning experience will decide how well he does.