There’s no doubt in the mind of Odell Beckham Jr. that his teammate Sterling Shepard is headed towards big things. In fact, the two-time All-Pro selection sees the rookie out of Oklahoma following the same path he did his first-year in the league.
Following an eight-catch, 117-yard performance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in a 16-13 win, Shepard is validating the New York Giants taking the rookie with the second pick in this past spring’s NFL Draft. He is already showing the route-running ability of a veteran and the soft hands of an elite player.
And in the eyes of the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Shepard is pointed towards a similar honor. In fact, Shepard might be the early frontrunner for the rookie award.
“The only way how I know he knows how to play. Lights out every game,” Beckham said after the game. “Comes up with the big catch, makes the big plays. He’s going to be Rookie of the Year.”
Shepard’s emergence is a huge development for the Giants offense.
In the slot, he can be a formidable addition to a receiving corps that also includes Victor Cruz as well as Beckham. He also has shown an ability down the field to block which has helped the ground game get into traction behind a poor offensive line.
The Giants with quarterback Eli Manning had 368 yards passing in Sunday’s win and should only improve as Sterling continues to grow.
“There’s still a few things we can honestly clean up and learn from, but a lot of good things. I thought all of them made some tough catches. Sterling made some tough catches in the middle. Some scramble drills. Some timing stuff. We were on time,” Manning said. “A lot of good things and we’ll clean up the others. I feel excited about the weapons we have. Not just those three receivers but the tight ends and running backs as well. Offensive line played well and I thought we had good communication. Solved a lot of their looks and gave us an opportunity to make some big plays.”