Darrius Shepherd was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver out of North Dakota state. The 23-year old in his first season is deep on the depth chart at wide receiver behind Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard, and Jake Kumerow.
Shepherd has appeared in five games this season, but has only been targeted twice as a receiver, catching his lone pass for a single yard in the 24-22 in over the Lions on October 14. He’s had a steady role on special teams, but has struggled to produce. Shepherd hasn’t done well returning kicks this so far. In fact, his 16.3 average per kick return is the lowest on the NFL among players with more than one return. Shepherd has been even worse on punts, averaging -4.5 yards on two returns.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted that the Packers are looking to upgrade the kick return game for Sunday’s match up against the Kansas City Chiefs. One player who could fill the void is Tremon Smith, who the Chiefs waived on September 17. He played for the Packers for three weeks before being released, but is now on the practice squad and could return to the active roster in time to face his former team. Special teams coach said “we’ll see who’s available” when asked about Shepherd’s security as the kick returner. One must also wonder if Shepherd’s roster spot is in jeopardy.