Heading into the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend, the Green Bay Packers signed several of their draft picks and eleven undrafted free agents. Combined with a few additional recent roster transactions, the Packers’ 90-man roster sat at 88 members in advance of the camp, while 20 players attended minicamp on a tryout basis.
One of those two open spots is now accounted for. According to Bill Huber of 247sports, the Packers are signing wide receiver Darrius Shepherd from North Dakota State.
Unlike the other wide receivers on the Packers’ roster, Shepherd is a smaller player, reportedly measuring in at 5-foot-10 1/2 and 186 pounds at NDSU’s Pro Day this spring. This makes him the only receiver currently on the roster listed at a height shorter than 6-foot-1 and one of just three receivers under 200 pounds (joining Trevor Davis and Teo Redding).
Once the signing is confirmed, Shepherd will join recent Packers signee Billy Turner as NDSU alumni on Green Bay’s roster. The Packers have signed other Bison players in the past, particularly as undrafted free agents. Running back John Crockett spent some time in Green Bay recently as well.
Shepherd had an impressive senior season in 2018, catching 62 passes for 1,065 yards and nine touchdowns, helping lead the Bison to another FCS title — its sixth in the last seven years. Shepherd won the title game’s MVP award, thanks in large part to a pair of third-quarter touchdown receptions from quarterback Easton Stick. The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Stick in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft.
Shepherd appears to have the build and skill set to play in the slot in Green Bay. Despite his smaller stature, he is not a particularly fast or quick player (4.61 forty, 7.13 3-cone), requiring him to win with savvy route-running. However, he also has experience as a punt returner, averaging 15.6 yards per return on 19 attempts as a senior.
Keep an eye on Shepherd throughout OTAs and minicamp this spring as he likely fights to earn a spot on the Packers’ practice squad.