Back in January, when the Buffalo Bills added former Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt to its coaching staff, we spent a little time talking about which Pitt players Wannstedt might vouch for at his new place of employment in the 2011 NFL Draft. One of those players, senior defensive end Jabaal Sheard, has flown under the radar for quite a while. That may not be the case for much longer.
Viewed as a likely second-round prospect, Sheard has been the subject of praise from draft evaluators such as Wes Bunting and Russ Lande of late. Bunting, of the National Football Post, calls Sheard a better 3-4 OLB prospect than names like Ryan Kerrigan, Aldon Smith and Justin Houston, while Lande (Sporting News) - never afraid to think outside the box - has Sheard off the board at No. 16 overall to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft.
Sheard measured in at 6'3" and 264 pounds at the 2011 NFL Combine, running a 4.69-second 40-yard dash in the process. In his last three years under Wannstedt at Pitt, Sheard accumulated 139 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. Sheard ran into a spot of legal trouble prior to the 2010 season when he was arrested following an altercation in which he threw a man through a glass door, and though he avoided severe penalty, Wannstedt caught some heat for backing Sheard soon after the incident.