If there’s one player out of the tryout group who has proven potential to be on an NFL roster, it’s JaCorey Shepherd. Shepherd was a former sixth round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. He never played with the Eagles, after tearing his ACL during his rookie preseason. At the time, he was considered to be in the running for the team’s nickel back role. But the injury prevented him from doing that.
After staying on the Eagles practice squad for part of 2016, the San Francisco 49ers scooped up Shepherd and gave him a role with the team. It wasn’t on defense though. It came on special teams.
Shepherd served as the primary kicker returner for the 49ers, and he was met with success. During the year, he had 21 returns and averaged 21.7 yards per return. That was good for 19th in the league, and would have been a slight upgrade over the Redskins kick return game that year.
Given that the Redskins have had problems with their return game over the course of the past couple of seasons, Shepherd could be kept on the 90-man roster because of his proven ability in this area. At the very least, he would give the team a depth option to backup what they already have. So, why not keep him around, especially with him being further removed from his ACL tear.
If the Redskins are going to keep anyone from this tryout group, Shepherd would be the most sensible. He has experience in an area that the Redskins need, and the team would be well served to carry extra cornerback depth into the preseason. So, don’t be surprised if Shepherd is signed to the 90-man roster after the tryout period.