LSU Tigers: NFL draft

BATON ROUGE, La. -- In four years playing for LSU, fans got to see Russell Shepard do a lot.

Coming out of high school in 2009 as one of the country's top dual-threat quarterbacks, he lined up in the backfield in college and ran with the ball as a running back. He'd line up outside and in the slot and catch passes (or, mostly not get thrown to) as a wide receiver. He'd return kicks.

[+] EnlargeRussell Shepard
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesRussell Shepard said that while he has never had to backpedal in his career, he did a pretty OK job of it this week at LSU's pro day.
What we didn't see him do is what NFL scouts had him doing Wednesday at LSU's pro day. Shepard backpedaled, turned to catch the ball, changed directions and reacted, all drills he was doing at -- of all things -- defensive backs.

Russell Shepard, a cornerback?

Don't laugh.

"I had six teams come up and tell me they wanted to see me do DB work," he said. "I never knew I was going to do it. But I did decent today."

That made pro day an extension of Shepard's entire career, at least his college career. Few have ever questioned Shepard's athleticism -- he put that on display during physical testing, running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, and jumping 38.5 inches in the vertical leap -- but the question has always been how to utilize it.

Shepard has played every offensive skill position at LSU -- quarterback, running back and receiver -- but never was asked to flip to the other side of the ball until Wednesday.

"I've never backpedaled," Shepard said. "For my first time, I felt I did pretty decent. A lot of the teams were impressed. I could be a DB at the next level."

The thought had hardly crossed his mind before pro day. He was a high school quarterback who would alternate in college between being primarily a running back and primarily a wide receiver, all the time getting the occasional look as a wildcat quarterback.

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Scouts Inc. breaks down the 2012 class in each position group, including the top prospects in each of the position-specific categories Scouts uses in evaluations, along with a listing of all draft-ready prospects, four-year combine averages, picks in Rounds 1-2, and three-year market trends for each position.

Running back
Wide receiver
Tight end
Offensive lineman

Defensive lineman
Defensive back

After pro day, Brockers back on the rise 

March, 23, 2012
Michael Brockers' meteoric rise up many an NFL draft board has seen one hitch this spring.

That came at the NFL combine when the early departing LSU sophomore defensive tackle, nervous and a tad overweight, did not perform as well as he would have liked.

Perhaps that was just a blip.
Morris ClaiborneGary Laney/ESPN.comFormer LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne speaks to the media following pro day.

Pro day is a process that takes hours, but for a trio of top NFL draft prospects, success in Thursday's LSU pro day could be measured in tenths of a second.

Because for cornerback Morris Claiborne, wide receiver Rueben Randle and defensive tackle Michael Brockers, the highlight of their day came in the critical slivers of a second they all cut off the 40-yard dash times recorded at the NFL combine in February at Indianapolis.

The hope is that the improvement will translate to another productive first day for LSU in the NFL draft in April. If nothing else, there were a lot of Tigers hoping for a career playing for pay. Twenty-one Tigers off the 2011 team, plus a handful of former players, worked out on Thursday.

And the biggest attraction there showed the scouts, GMs and three NFL head coaches in attendance - the Vikings' Leslie Frazier, the Jets' Rex Ryan and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin - that his measurables are indeed better than what they were in Indianapolis.

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Rabalais looks ahead at LSU's FB schedule
Paul Finebaum and Scott Rabalais discuss the LSU 2015 football schedule.