2017 NFL Draft

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Kory Sheets

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 208 | College: Purdue
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One of the few bright spots during head coach Joe Tiller's trying and final season at the helm, Sheets capitalized on Jaycen Taylor's injury to handle the brunt of the rushing load for the first time in his career as a senior. Even though he led the team in rushing three consecutive seasons, the talented tailback was always part of the team's running back formation his first three campaigns.

The versatile athlete closed out his career second on the school's record lists with 664 rushing attempts for 3,341 yards, 4,944 all-purpose yards and 324 points scored. He also established Purdue career marks with 48 rushing touchdowns and 54 overall scores, as his 54 total touchdowns tied Tyrone Wheatley of Michigan (1991-94) for fifth place in Big Ten Conference history. His nine 100-yard rushing efforts were good for fourth in Purdue annals.

Sheets was named state Player of the Year by Hartford Courant at Bloomfield High School, where he was also an All-Conference selection as a senior after rushing for 2,588 yards and 41 touchdowns. He had five games with at least 250 yards rushing and amassed 400 yards on 19 carries with four touchdowns in three quarters of action in the state semifinal game. He led the team to the state championship that year, as he was ranked as the 23rd-best all-purpose back in the country by Rivals.com.

As a junior, Sheets totaled 812 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. He also competed as a defensive back, returning six interceptions for touchdowns during his career. In addition to football, he also participated in track and field, earning All-State recognition.

Sheets redshirted in 2004 at Purdue. He earned Freshman All-American honorable mention from The Sporting News the following season. In 11 2005 games, he placed second on the team with 571 yards on 104 carries (5.5 avg). His 10 rushing touchdowns tied for the team lead and rank 13th on the school's single-season record list. He also gained 123 yards on 13 catches and averaged 18.2 yards on four kickoff returns, as he scored again on a blocked punt return for 13 yards vs. Akron.

Named the Connecticut Player of the Year by the Walter Camp Foundation in 2006, Sheets paced the Boilermakers with 158 rushes for 780 yards (4.9 avg) and 11 touchdowns in 14 contests. He pulled down 28 balls for 213 yards and gained 422 yards on 19 kickoff returns (22.2 avg), finishing with 1,423 all-purpose yards, the 13th-best total on the school's annual record chart.

Sheets started the last nine games of a 13-game 2007 schedule, leading the team again with 859 yards on 168 attempts (5.1 avg) that included 11 touchdowns. He gained 216 yards and two more scores on 30 receptions (7.2 avg), scoring 78 points while amassing 1,089 all-purpose yards.

However, the honeymoon between Sheets and his head coach came to an end during his junior year. The junior tailback was benched on several occasions due to ball security issues. After his fumble vs. Michigan led to a Wolverines touchdown, he was relegated to the bench for the final three quarters. Taylor took the bulk of the carries until getting hurt later in the year, giving Sheets an opportunity to redeem himself.

Sheets earned All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention as a senior, as he led the team for the third time with a career-high 1,131 yards and a school single-season record 16 touchdowns on 234 carries (4.8 avg). He finished fourth on the squad with 37 catches for 253 yards (6.8 avg), including a score, as he also averaged 18.5 yards on 14 kickoff returns. He ranked fifth in the league with 136.92 all-purpose yards per game.

With those numbers, you would think that Sheets would have been satisfied with his senior season, but it was a frustrating one, as the losses mounted. The tailback began voicing his concerns to the media, drawing the angst of the coaching staff. "If they don't have consistency at quarterback, and I'm being real consistent, I think they have to start looking at me for some answers and giving me the ball and let me carry the team, instead of keep putting it in (QB Curtis) Painter's hands."

Sheets exploded for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-26 loss to Northwestern. However, after a four-game losing streak Sheets attacked Painter in the press. "If they want to ask more of me, they just have to put the ball in my hands a little bit more, and they're going to get a lot more out of me," Sheets said. "They put the ball in my hands, I feel we'll be a lot more successful." Sheets' outburst forced Tiller to ban his running back from meeting with the press the rest of the season.


Positives: Lanky build with the room for additional mass without a significant loss of quickness. Quick to the hole. Agile. Can make defenders miss in tight quarters. Quickly gets to top speed and can accelerate through a gap and to the second level. Patient runner who follows his blocks, but can stick his foot in the ground and explode through holes. Good speed for the stretch play. Good vision for the cutback. Despite a lack of prototypical bulk and leg drive, is an extraordinarily effective runner near the goal-line. Good hands out of the backfield. Experienced kick returner with the vision and speed to contribute immediately in this area. Four-year contributor who has never missed a game due to injury. Enjoyed a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl. Could have been hidden a bit by Purdue's reliance on the passing game and surprise at the next level.

Negatives: Lacks the bulk and lower leg drive necessary for grinding out the tough yards. Only had one season as the team's primary back. Operated out of a spread offense, and will likely be forced to acclimate to a more pro-style offense in the NFL. Marginal effectiveness as a pass blocker. Supplies good effort, but simply lacks the strength to hold up. Complained about the struggles of the rest of the Purdue offense -- specifically quarterback Curtis Painter -- to the press, forcing coach Joe Tiller to ban him from talking to the media at the end of 2008.

Scouting Report


Body Structure: Sheets has a lanky frame, but added more than 10 pounds of bulk after 2008 with no loss in quickness. He is has lean muscular definition, with tight hips and waist, adequate thigh and calf thickness and good lower body strength, but his overall power base is lacking.

Athletic Ability: Sheets has good quickness out of his stance and the agility to redirect and locate the cutback lane. He has the speed, balance and change of direction to slip past the pile to get into the second level. He gets most of his positive yardage with his short burst and acceleration, showing good body lean in his stride. He's quick to redirect and shows good jump-cut agility. He runs with a short, tight stride and has enough lateral agility to pick and slide. He's more than a one-speed type, displaying swivel hips. He runs with good torque and has decent leg drive on contact. GRADE: 6.3

Football Sense: Sheets needs normal reps to retain and is a naturally bright athlete with good football intelligence. He's not a to the detail type of athlete, but plays with solid adjustment-on-the-move skills. GRADE: 5.8

Character: Sheets was a good team-oriented type his first two years, but started having problems with the coaching staff over his fumble issues in 2007. Frustration boiled over as losses mounted in 2008 and when Sheets had his famed meltdown after the Northwestern game, attacking the offensive game plan and QB Curtis Painter in the press, he was banned from talking to the media for the rest of the year. To say that his former coach is not a big fan of his is an understatement. GRADE: 4.8

Competitiveness: Sheets shows good toughness and aggressiveness, the type that is a fierce competitor on the field, but he needs to control his emotions and work within the team concept better. He never throttles down inside and shows consistency in his running style and is not the type that will lets bumps and bruises affect his play. GRADE: 6.2

Work Habits: Sheets is a good worker on the practice field, but must dedicate more hours in the weight room. Whether it is a lack of effort or just being naturally weak, a player of his size should show better power than he does (only 15 reps on 225-pound bench press). His frustrations with the offense last year caused the coaches to almost have to hose down the huddle before the heated arguments spilled over. For a senior player, he needed to show better leadership ability than to trash his teammates. GRADE: 4.9


Initial Quickness: Sheets has a good burst and quick start when he keeps his pads down going up in the hole. He is a quick-twitched type of runner with some suddenness out of his stance, but is not consistently explosive. He has the short burst and body snap to get to the line of scrimmage quickly, though. GRADE: 6.3

Acceleration/Burst: Sheets has the speed to accelerate into the second level and the loose hips to make the initial tackler miss. He has the ability to break free for long runs, but those distance scampers are far apart. He has a good burst and acceleration through the line of scrimmage, with some dart ability. He just lacks top-end speed to win foot races in the open field when he gets too tall in his stance and appears more comfortable using a short-area burst near the goal line for his scoring opportunities. GRADE: 6.4

Instincts/Balance: It is Sheet's balance and body control that allows him to get the tough yardage through the crease, as he lacks the upper body power to simply move the pile. He has good vision to spot the rush lane, but lacks the make you miss suddenness and top-speed to elude. He is more of a speed cutter who relies on his moves to break free. Despite his good balance, if he fails to stay low in his pads he can be brought down by initial contact. GRADE: 5.6

Inside Running: Sheets is not what you would consider a power runner, but he uses his leg drive effectively, flashing lateral quickness and consistency seeing the cutback. When he stays low in his pads, he will get the tough yardage with his balance. However, when the rush lane is clogged, he gets too erect in his stance and seems to expose the ball too much when trying to redirect off-tackle, especially when going to the right hash and this resulted in a high amount of costly fumbles, leading to a brief benching in 2007. Still, near the goal line, he has had good success slipping into the end zone. GRADE: 6.2

Outside Running: Sheets has good outside quickness, but he is the type that needs to build up his speed and it will not come suddenly. He lacks the explosion to consistently get to the corner, but shows decent production on options. His perimeter speed will get him to the edge vs. the slower defenders, but is not enough to break open-field tackles on a regular basis. GRADE: 5.4

Elusiveness: Sheets is not a runner who will break tackles around the corner. He has good speed, once he builds up to it, but cannot escape the secondary for long gains. He has good lateral slide in the short area, but needs to do a better job of gearing up and down in order to elude. GRADE: 5.4

Tackle-Breaking Strength: Sheets is the type that can stick his foot in the ground and explode through the hole, but is not capable of pushing the pile. As his poor bench press totals indicate, he needs to use his slippery moves to get success running inside. He shows good body lean and the ability to finish after contact, but is not flashy. He has good lower body strength, but needs to keep his feet running up the middle. He can be tripped up by ankle tackles (adequate knee lift). GRADE: 5.3

Tendency to Fumble: Until 2008, this was a major issue, leading to his eventual benching vs. Michigan in 2007. He just does not display the strong arms and hands to secure the ball. If you watch the 2008 Minnesota, both of the 2007 Central Michigan games and the 2007 Michigan clash, you will see the bulk of his fumbles come when he leaves the ball exposed running between tackles off the right hash. He is susceptible to arm tackles when running up the gut and it seems that he gives up on the play once he loses the ball (despite solid tackling skills on special teams, he makes an inconsistent effort to recover his miscues). GRADE: 4.8

Receiving Skills: Sheets is a capable receiver out of the backfield, but won't run any deep patterns or do anything fancy with the ball in his hands. He is best when used as a receiver on screens, as he shows the hands and body control to adjust to the ball. GRADE: 6.1

Route Running : Sheets is better served on controlled routes. He does not have a lot of natural route running skills. It just seems like he goes to where he needs to be and fails to settle in the soft spot of the zone. He does show adequate cutting ability in and out of his breaks. GRADE: 5.3

Blocking Ability: Sheets gets a little too tall in his stance and keeps his leg base too narrow as a blocker. He just needs to block at a better pad level. He can be knocked to the ground easily when asked to lead block, and he fails to get his hands up quickly enough to pick up the blitz in pass protection. Even with his added bulk, his blocking remains adequate, at best. GRADE: 4.7

Compares To: JULIUS JONES, Seattle -- Like Jones, Sheets has had some decent success near the goal line, but lacks a strong base to be considered a power runner. He finally got his opportunity to be the featured back in 2008, but he let his frustrations from a losing season boil over on to the field, which resulted in lost respect in the huddle. He is a capable receiver out of the backfield. He is best served in a running back rotation.


--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas

Career Notes

Sheets started 36 of 50 games at Purdue, ranking second on the school career record list with 3,341 yards rushing, topped by Mike Alstott (3,635, 1992-95), as that pair was joined by Otis Armstrong (3,315, 1970-72) as the only players in Purdue annals to rush for more than 3,000 yards in a career … His 664 carries rank behind Armstrong (670) on the school's all-time record chart … His 48 touchdowns on the ground shattered the previous school record of 39 by Alstott and rank fifth in Big Ten Conference history behind Ron Dayne of Wisconsin (71, 1996-99), Anthony Thompson of Indiana (68, 1986-89), Pete Johnson of Ohio State (56, 1973-76) and Anthony Thomas of Michigan (55, 1997-2000) … His 54 total touchdowns topped Alstott's previous Purdue record of 42 and tied Tyrone Wheatley of Michigan (1991-94) for fifth in Big Ten history … Ranks second in school history with 4,944 all-purpose yards, surpassed only by Dorien Bryant (6,219 yards, 2004-07) … His 324 points scored are topped by Travis Dorsch (355, 1998-2001) in Purdue history … Rushed for 1,131 yards in 2008, the fourth-best season total behind Alstott (1,436 in 1995 and 1,188 in 1994) and Armstrong (1,361 in 1972), becoming the sixth player in school history to go over the 1,000-yard mark … His 16 touchdown runs in 2008 broke the old school record of 14 that was shared by Tony Butkovich (1943), Leroy Keyes (1968) and Alstott (1994) … Gained 1,643 all-purpose yards in 2008, ranking sixth on the Purdue single-season record chart … His 102 points scored in 2008 was good for fifth on the school annual record list.

2008 Season

All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention and named to the Doak Walker Award watch list (nation's outstanding running back) … Selected Connecticut Player of the Year by the Walter Camp Football Foundation for the second time in three seasons (also 2006), becoming the third two-time winner in 28-year history of award (also Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky and Wisconsin linebacker Tarek Saleh) … Started all twelve games, tying for second in the conference with a school single-season record sixteen touchdown runs … Led the squad for the third consecutive year with 234 carries for 1,131 yards (4.8 avg) … Caught 37 passes for 253 yards (6.8 avg) and a score … Returned fourteen kickoffs for 259 yards (18.5 avg) and led the Boilermakers while finishing fourth in the conference in scoring with 102 points, an average of 8.5 points per game … Placed fifth in the Big Ten with 1,643 all-purpose yards, averaging 136.92 yards per game … Recorded two solo tackles - one each vs. Iowa and Penn State … Turned the ball over just once, coming in the Minnesota contest … Ran for over 100 yards three times.

2008 Game Analysis

Northern Colorado … Opened the season with a pair of touchdowns on sixteen carries for 81 yards, as he found the end zone on 9 and 2-yard attempts.

Oregon … Added two more scores on 29 runs for a career-high 180 yards, as he also made four catches for 17 yards … Returned the game opening kickoff 20 yards and then took the ball 80 yards on a rushing attempt for a score … Added a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Central Michigan … For the third week in a row, Sheets ran for two touchdowns, totaling 91 yards on seventeen carries and 23 yards on five receptions … Scored the game-winning touchdown on a 46-yard scamper with one minute left in a 32-25 decision.

Notre Dame … Sheets suffered a shoulder sprain, but managed 87 yards on thirteen chances and 56 yards on five catches … Scored on a first quarter 22-yard carry.

Northwestern … The tailback exploded for 168 yards on seventeen attempts that included two touchdowns, as he also snared four passes for 31 yards … His final score came on a 76-yard burst with six minutes left in the contest.

Michigan … Sheets carried 30 times for 118 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, as he also scored on three receptions for 43 yards to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors … He capped a 62-yard, 9-play first quarter series with a 2-yard scoring plunge, followed by a 10-yarder in the opening frame … Ended an 80-yard, 9-play possession with a 3-yard second quarter score and caught a 7-yard touchdown pass in the third frame … Ended the day with a 5-yard scoring scamper.

2007 Season

Named to the Doak Walker Award watch list … Started nine of thirteen contests, leading the team with 859 yards and eleven touchdowns on 168 carries (5.1 avg), but turned the ball over four times on fumbles, including three vs. Central Michigan (twice during the regular season and once in the Motor City Bowl … Was benched for the final three quarters of the Michigan contest after his fumble led to a Wolverines touchdown … Caught 30 passes for 216 yards (7.2 avg) and a pair of scores … Registered 78 points and returned a kickoff 14 yards … Amassed 1,089 all-purpose yards, an average of 83.77 yards per game … Ran for over 100 yards three times.

2007 Game Analysis

Rushed for season-high 144 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns vs. Central Michigan during the regular season, adding two scores on twelve attempts for 27 yards in the Motor City Bowl encounter … Carried the ball 21 times for 111 yards and a touchdown and caught career-high seven passes for 60 yards and a touchdown at Minnesota … Ran 27 times for 141 yards and a touchdown vs. Notre Dame … Added 71 yards and a touchdown on 18 tries vs. Iowa … Only carried six times, but gained 80 yards, including a 59-yard score, as he also had a 41-yard touchdown grab in the Michigan State clash … Closed out the regular season with two touchdowns and 46 yards on twelve attempts vs. Indiana.

2006 Season

Named to the Doak Walker Award watch list and chosen Connecticut Player of the Year by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, becoming the second Purdue player to receive that honor (also linebacker Niko Koutouvides in 2002) … Started thirteen games, leading the team with 780 yards and eleven touchdowns on 158 attempts (4.9 avg) … Caught 28 passes for 213 yards (7.6 avg) and two scores … Returned nineteen kickoffs for 422 yards (22.2 avg) and scored 78 points … Recorded four tackles (3 solos), including one in each of the Miami (Oh.), Penn State, Illinois and Ball State games … Picked up 1,423 all-purpose yards, an average of 101.64 yards per game … Turned the ball over twice on four fumbles.

2006 Game Analysis

Had 17 carries for season-high 128 yards and three touchdowns vs. Indiana State … Ran for 60 yards on 14 carries and career-high four touchdowns vs. Miami (Ohio), as his four touchdowns are tied for second-most in school history … Came up with career-long 56-yard kickoff returns vs. both Indiana State and Miami (Ohio) … Added 14 carries for 57 yards and a rushing touchdown to go with five receptions for 65 yards and two scores vs. Ball State … Received the team's Pop Doan Award for his performance vs. Indiana, after he blocked a punt vs. Hoosiers.

2005 Season

Named honorable mention Freshman All-American by The Sporting News … Appeared in all eleven games, ranking second on the team with 104 carries for 571 yards (5.5 avg) and ten touchdowns … Made thirteen catches for 132 yards (10.2 avg) and returned four kickoffs for 73 yards (18.2 avg) … Scored on a 13-yard blocked punt in the Akron clash and made a stop for a 3-yard loss vs. Arizona … Gained 789 all-purpose yards, an average of 71.73 yards per game … Turned the ball over twice on fumbles, including one each vs. Northwestern and Wisconsin.

2005 Game Analysis

Recovered a Bernard Pollard blocked punt and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown vs. Akron … Came up with a key special teams tackle for 3-yard loss on fake punt at Arizona … Rushed for 101 yards on just 10 carries with a touchdown at Minnesota, as he had an 88-yard jaunt in that game that ranks as third-longest in school history and longest ever in a road game … Scored two rushing touchdowns vs. Notre Dame and caught a season-high four passes for 26 yards at Penn State … Started and rushed for a season-high 137 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns to receive team's Pop Doan Award for the top performance in the Indiana contest.

2004 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2008: Suffered a shoulder contusion vs. Notre Dame (9/27).

Agility Tests

Combine: 4.39 in the 40-yard dash … 1.44 10-yard dash … 2.57 20-yard dash … 4.39 20-yard shuttle … 7.18 three-cone drill … 37-inch vertical jump … 10'1" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times … 31 1/4-inch arm length … 9 1/2-inch hands.

High School

Attended Bloomfield (Ct.) High School, playing football for head coach Bobby Gibson … Named state Player of the Year by Hartford Courant … All-Conference selection as a senior after rushing for 2,588 yards and 41 touchdowns … Had five games with at least 250 yards rushing and amassed 400 yards on 19 carries with four touchdowns in three quarters of action in the state semifinal game … Led the team to the state championship that year, as he was ranked as the 23rd-best all-purpose back in the country by Rivals.com … As a junior, Sheets totaled 812 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns … Also competed as a defensive back, returning six interceptions for touchdowns during his career … In addition to football, he also participated in track and field, earning All-State recognition.


Graduated in December, 2008 with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision … Mother, Krystal McKenzie, participated in track and field at Morgan State University … .Born Kory Gerren Sheets on 3/31/85 … Resides in Manchester, Connecticut.


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