(Editor's Note: With just one month until the start of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the top of the first round to the bottom of the talent pool. Today's featured player is Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard.)
Honors: In 2015 Shepard was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award (given to the most outstanding college receiver) and was named an All-American by various media outlets.
Key Stat: Shepard finished his four-year Sooners career with 233 catches for 3,482 yards and 26 touchdowns. In his final college game this past January, he tied his late father Derrick's school Orange Bowl record with 87 receiving yards. Derrick Shepard played for three teams during his five-year NFL career as a receiver, including the Cowboys.
Where He's Projected: Many mock drafts list Sterling on the fringe of the first and certainly a Day 2-caliber prospect as arguably a top-five receiver in the 2016 class.
How He Helps the Cowboys:Sterling operated out of the slot for most of his Oklahoma career, and Cole Beasley has emerged as a consistent slot target for the Cowboys. But his combination of quickness, route-running and hands figure to be an asset for any team as a slot receiver and perhaps playing on the outside, too. His Scouting Combine results (4.48 40-yard dash, 41-inch vertical leap) helped cement his status as a top receiver prospect.[embeddedad0]
Scout's Take: Tremendous body balance and control. Will contort his body to make adjusting receptions. Knows how to get his feet down. Plays with sideline awareness. Catches the ball in his hands. Rare that you see it get to his body. Natural hands. Will extend them to catch. Quickness in his routes. Finds space in his routes. Can adjust to the ball over his head. Will go inside for the ball, shows no fear. Can catch it on the move and turn it up the field. Knows where the sticks are – situationally smart. Can sell a route. Knows how to escape. Makes the contested catch. Can be a mismatch player. Problem if you cover with the wrong guy. Quickness to beat the press. Lines up all over the formation. Shows the ability to make huge plays. Show the ability to take a game over with his play. Clutch player in every sense of the word. - Bryan Broaddus