Nobody expected Kendall Sheffield to slide into a starting role with the Falcons when he was selected out of The Ohio State University in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That changed when starter Desmond Trufant went down with an injury.
Sheffield’s made the most of it. He’s appeared in nine games, starting four. He’s racked up 27 tackles, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble. He also looks like he’s getting more confident each week.
He’s pleased with his adjustment to the NFL so far.
“I would say it’s been pretty good. I would say that one of the big differences is learning my role in the defense and on the team as well,” Sheffield told The Falcoholic. “I think I’m coming along pretty good — I just try to do my best I can every snap.”
Our own Eric Robinson identified Sheffield’s top skills as “speed, speed, speed, athleticism, and speed,” and it’s shown on the field. Sheffield said he’s been able to adjust to playing starter snaps thanks to the team’s approach to preparation,
“I just keep doing what I’m doing week to week,” Sheffield said. “In fact, they’re doing a great job of preparing me for the games during practice and walk-throughs and things like that. So my hat goes off to them, and just keeping me up to beat.”
The Falcons are coming off of a tremendous win in New Orleans, where the coverage was tight and consistent enough to let the pass rush get to Drew Brees not once, not twice, but SIX times in a single game.
Sheffield said that they put in the work on communicating and being mindful of the details in practice, and it paid off.
“Yeah, communication and just attention to details,” he said. “That would be one of the biggest things that we did day to day during practice, and it translated to the game.”
As a lifelong Ohio State fan, I had to ask: What’s the Real DBU? Sheffield’s answer won’t surprise you.
“Of course, Ohio State,” he said, laughing.
If Sheffield keeps playing at this level, he’ll establish himself as a player who deserves snaps way ahead of the schedule I would have expected for a fourth-rounder. He’s got the mindset to make it happen,