NFL

Darrius Shepherd Opens Eyes of Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams as Young Packers WR

The Green Bay Packers are forced to dig deep into their group of wide receivers. Davante Adams has missed most of the last two games and is questionable for Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Allen Lazard, after a career night last week, is out. The Packers will turn to undrafted Darrius Shepherd, who has opened the eyes of Aaron Rodgers and Adams.

Who is Darrius Shepherd?

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Darrius Shepherd is a 5-foot-11, 186-pound wide receiver who played his college football at North Dakota State. He went undrafted in 2019 but was signed by the Green Bay Packers after getting an invite to the team’s rookie camp. He appeared in six games for the Packers in 2019, making one catch for one yard against the Detroit Lions.

Shepherd also made a miscue during that Monday Night Football game against the Lions. He botched a punt return with the game tied at 13 in the third quarter. Detroit capitalized with a field goal, but the Packers came back to win the game.

Shepherd was waived in October of 2019 but landed a spot on Green Bay’s practice squad. He repeated the same process in 2020 as he was cut right before the season opener and was brought back to the practice squad the following day. Shepherd was added to the active roster last week.

The Green Bay Packers are hobbled by injuries

The Green Bay Packers offense is clicking. No team in the NFL has scored more points through three weeks. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown nine touchdown passes with no interceptions. He has also seen his wide receiver group go down with injuries.

Davante Adams went down with a hamstring injury during Week 2 and missed most of the game. He didn’t play at all in Green Bay’s Week 3 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Adams is listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

During Sunday’s game against the Saints, Allen Lazard had the game of his career. The third-year wide receiver out of Iowa State finished the game with six catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. He suffered a core injury but finished the game. He had surgery this week and it’s unknown how much time he will miss.

Darrius Shepherd impressing Rodgers, Adams

Darrius Shepherd is determined. He’s a guy who knows the playbook inside and out and he’s always picking Davante Adams’ brain. He just wants to get better. “Damn near every time I come in the Hutson Center … I walk in and do the same thing, put my helmet down. And ‘Shep’ is picking Davante’s brain about releases and certain things,” Aaron Rodgers told Packers.com. “That sticks with you. That impacts you. You’re seeing just that desire to improve and get better. And then you see it on the field.”

With injuries to Adams and Allen Lazard, Shepherd could see more time as a wide receiver. He’s put his Monday Night football miscue from last year behind him. His teammates, including Adams, have all the confidence in the world in him.

“I mean, he’s blown me away more this year than he did last year, honestly,” Adams said. “People kind of assumed he was whatever type of player just based off a couple plays that didn’t go his way. The dude is so smart just naturally, and then what he does with it – his focus, the way he helps out other guys on the field – and this is only his second year in the league.”