The reserve receiver, much more accomplished on special teams over his first two seasons, followed up his strong performance in the preseason opener by bringing in the perfectly timed throw with Josh Robinson trailing in coverage. Shepard's impressive work to date this summer has helped him stand out from the proverbial cast of thousands vying for spots in the bottom half of the Bucs' receiver depth chart.
Shepard, one of several receivers competing for a backup role, totaled 62 yards and a touchdown on three catches in Thursday's 17-9 preseason loss to the Eagles.
The special teams ace flashed some impressive skills from scrimmage, making a leaping grab of a Jameis Winston pass and evading two defenders to scamper into the end zone in the first quarter. The catch capped off a seven-play, 79-yard drive that got the Bucs on the scoreboard for the first time in 2016. Shepard provided an impressive encore when he hauled in a 30-yard heave from Mike Glennon in the second period, helping him post the most impressive night among the Tampa wideouts. While the 25-year-old has only notched seven catches over his first two seasons, he may have the early lead for the fourth receiver spot behind Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Adam Humphries after Thursday's performance.
The 25-year-old, primarly known for his acumen on special teams over his first two seasons in Tampa, flashed some impressive wheels on the catch. Shepard badly burned cornerback Josh Robinson on a fly pattern down the left sideline and beat the late-arriving Major Wright to the end zone for the would-be touchdown. The LSU product has hauled in only seven passes on 18 targets over the last two seasons, so his primary value is expected to be on the return units once again in 2016.
The Bucs special-teams captain had an opportunity to flash some of his skills from scrimmage in Thursday's opening training camp practice and was able to capitalize. He first hauled in a 45-yard touchdown from Jameis Winston down the right sideline, and ran a similar route going in the other direction as an encore later in the session. Shepard is considered one of several contenders for Tampa's open third receiver spot this season, but has seen only 18 targets over his first pair of pro campaigns.
Shepard took advantage of increased reps during Tuesday's opening mini-camp practice, Joe Kania of the team's official site reports.
The 25-year-old special teams maven saw increased opportunity due to the Bucs being a bit short-handed at receiver, and maximized the extra reps. Shepard had three impressive receptions in traffic during the session, an encouraging sign considering he's only hauled in seven catches over his first two years in the league. The LSU product is one of several candidates vying for positions in the latter portion of the wide receiver depth chart, although his special-teams proficiency would figure to give him an added edge going in to the summer.
|1||9/11/16||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|2||9/18/16||@ ARI||4:05 pm|
|5||10/10/16||@ CAR||8:30 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/23/16||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|11||11/20/16||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|13||12/4/16||@ SD||4:25 pm|
|15||12/18/16||@ DAL||1:00 pm|
|16||12/24/16||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||4||63||15.8||23||0||2||0||3|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||2||3||28||9.3||18||1||0||0||3|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||6||6.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||14||14.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||10||9.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|