The Bills don’t win much these days, but if they came out on top of anything this year it would have to be the Kelvin Sheppard for Jerry Hughes trade. Player-for-player trades don’t happen very often in this league and they usually happen with players who at one time showed huge potential but ended up being a huge disappointment. The theory is that a change might do the player good, and spark the talent that got them where they are in the first place. I mean, nobody trades for a player with the thought that they are going to be a worthless addition to the team; it seems the Bills had a pretty good idea that Hughes would be a very valuable asset to the them.
Selected 31st overall in the 2010 draft, Hughes is considered one of Bill Polian’s worst picks in Indianapolis, but boy look at him now! With 10 sacks on the season, Hughes doubled the 5 sacks he had in his entire three-year career in Indianapolis. In his first season with Buffalo, Hughes also produced career high numbers in tackles (46), forced fumbles (two) and passes defended (2). Hughes went from being a first round bust to dominant sack machine and did so while switching to one of the worst and least respected teams in the league.
Sheppard, on the other hand, had the worst season of his three-year career and things don’t look so promising for his future in Indianapolis. He finished the season with an identical number of tackles with 46 but that is just over half of the 80 tackles he made last season. Sheppard did have three run stuffs which was one more than Hughes had but he only registered one sack on the season. That is almost understandable, though, considering Robert Mathis was hogging all the sacks this year in Indy.
That number of sacks between Hughes and Sheppard this season though is what declares the real winner in this trade. Hughes overachieved this years by leaps and bounds, while Sheppard underperformed and showed little to be desired. The Colts are sure to be looking at linebacker options this year in the draft and it makes you wonder what they think about giving up a first round draft pick who racked up 10 sacks this year.
Before I go, I have to say something about the incident in last weeks playoff game where Sheppard celebrated a play by slapping his teammate in the head several times as he lay face down on the field with a concussion. Sheppard has received some heat for it and I completely understand why, but I have a hard time believing that Sheppard had any idea his teammate just suffered major head trauma. I mean, if he did he must really hate it in Indianapolis and figured what a better way to show it than by standing over his own injured player and slapping him silly in the middle of the field. Kelvin was obviously very excited about the play, and I am pretty sure he will now find better ways to express his over bearing joy during games. Unless he does it again, I would give the guy a break. It’s not like he kicked him in the groin or started stomping on his neck. Sometimes excitement and passion gets the best of you, and despite his numbers you can not accuse Sheppard of not having a true love for the game.
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