Saturday, May 02, 2015

Eagles' sixth-round pick JaCorey Shepherd speaks

JaCorey Shepherd
On the level of interest from the Eagles during the pre-draft process:
“I knew that they liked me a lot and I knew it was a possibility that I could end up landing there. I was just hoping [I would go there]. I liked the people there when I met with them during my visit. I was hoping [the Eagles] would actually be one of the teams that had a chance to get me.”

On what made him convert from wide receiver to cornerback:
“It wasn’t really my choice. We had lack of depth at the corner position and the coaching staff felt like I was one of the few players who was smart enough and athletic enough to make the switch. They asked me and I felt like I could do it, so I gave it a shot. If it didn’t work then I would go back to receiver, but if it did work, then I would play corner. I went with it and it turned out well for me.”

On how his ball skills as a receiver help him at cornerback:
“It helps me a lot, I think it helps me tremendously. My ball skills at receiver were pretty good, so going over, that was one thing I was confident in. When I did move to [defensive back], I was not worried about my ball skills down the field. It was just getting used to back peddling and having to cover instead of getting myself open.”

On whether he was dealing with a hamstring injury at his Pro Day:
“Yes, right before the Pro Day, I had torn my hamstring. Three days before, I actually tore my hamstring, so I ran [the 40-yard dash] with a torn hamstring.”

On whether he considered not running the 40-yard dash due to the injury:
“I was, but it was one of those situations where it didn’t hurt me as far as running. So I figured I would just give them something.”

On whether he played any nickel or safety in college, or whether he was just an outside cornerback:
“I was strictly outside. I did work some nickel during camp, but the other [defense back] we had, he ended up not being able to play, so they moved me back to outside.”

On what he typically runs in the 40-yard dash when his hamstring is not injured:
“I’m usually in the 4.40, 4.45 range.”

On where he expected to be drafted this weekend:
“I wasn’t really expecting too much. I knew with my hamstring I was going to be on the back end, but I felt like if I was one hundred percent healthy and got to play in the Senior Bowl and compete in the [NFL] Combine, then I was thinking, easily, somewhere between the second and fourth rounds. I knew because of my hamstring, it was going to be a possibility between the fifth to seventh rounds. I’m just glad to have this opportunity.”

On whether he went up against current Eagles draft pick and former Kansas State cornerback Russell Evans:
“I actually did not go up against him, but I’m glad. It doesn’t matter where we fall, we’re all part of the same team now. I’m glad to be a part of the team, be a part of the team with him and whoever else is there. I’m just glad to be a part of the Eagles organization.”

On whether he has any connections to Philadelphia:
“Just a visit; that was my first time.”

On whether he had an official visit with the Eagles in Philadelphia:
“Yes, sir.”

On how his official visit went:
“It went well. Just being around the coaching staff and the people that are part of the organization, I liked the feel and the vibe I was getting from them. I felt like it was a place that I could call home. Going into the draft, I didn’t want to have teams that I wanted to go to, but the Eagles are a team that I definitely didn’t mind going to. It all worked out for me and I’m glad it worked out for the Eagles as well.”

On whether the team talked to him about the possibility of returning kicks:
“Yes, sir. They talked to me about returning kicks.”

On whether that is one of his strengths:
“Yes, sir. That is one of my strengths. Just being versatile and being able to do most of those things. They are talking about me returning kicks, but also being a cover guy as well. Like I told them, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. It doesn’t matter to me.”

On whether he met with the Eagles aside from his official visit:
“That was it. I met with [Eagles defensive backs] coach Cory [Undlin] at the Combine, but other than that, that was my only official meeting.”
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