The 5-foot-10 New York Giants wideout believes he can make a bigger leap Year 2.
"I look at it the same way as in high school," Shepard said last week, via NJ.com. "You make a big jump from your sophomore year, and then college the same way. Sophomore year, you get a lot more comfortable. I think it is just adjusting to the speed. I feel a lot more comfortable out here running routes. I know the play system now, so it helps me be a little more comfortable."
Shepard enters 2017 seemingly as the third wheel behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall in a dangerous Giants passing offense. The addition of rookie tight end Evan Engram might also take targets away from Shepard.
Shepard said improving his run-after-catch ability could help him continue to make an impact in a crowded pass game.
"What am I looking to work on? Really just after the catch," Shepard said. "I feel like I could have gotten a lot more YAC [yards after catch] yardage last year. That's something that I looked at on film and I want to get better on."
It's easy to look at the loaded Giants pass-catching corps and predict Shepard will take a step back in his second season. But with Marshall aging and tight end a notoriously difficult position to transition to from college to the NFL, Shepard could wind up as the No. 2 target for Eli Manning.
Shepard owns the route-running acumen and sticky hands needed to be an elite slot receiver. If he adds more YAC in Year 2, he'll become a potent weapon for Big Blue.