Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard looking to build on rookie season

Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) catches the ball as New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) and New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) look on during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard was the team’s most productive receiver during organized team activities (OTAs). His production is now carrying over to the mandatory three-day mini-camp.

Odell Beckham Jr. is on the field at mini-camp after skipping the Giants’ OTAs to work out independently, so the team is bringing him along slowly. Brandon Marshall and rookie tight end Evan Engram are still learning the offense.


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Shepard has connected with quarterback Eli Manning often in the offseason. Tuesday was no exception. He caught several passes over the middle while covered by cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Shepard also left linebacker B.J. Goodson in the dust on another play.

“Sterling Shepard had a nice day,” head coach Ben McAdoo said. “I think he went out and had a strong first day of camp. He really showed up well inside. Made a lot of plays, so it’s good to have everyone out here working.”

Shepard was selected 40th overall in last year’s draft. He had 65 receptions for 683 yards and eight touchdowns, supplanting Victor Cruz as the Giants’ slot receiver. Shepard worked in the offseason to improve his yards after the catch, looking quicker and stronger than he did as a rookie.

It is easy to forget about Shepard in discussing the Giants’ receivers. They picked up the free agent Marshall and drafted Engram 23rd overall in this April’s draft. The dynamic Beckham also casts a large shadow.

The Giants ran 90 percent of their offensive snaps in a three-wide receiver set last year. Shepard will not be a forgotten man once the games count regardless of the additions made to the offense.

“He has such a bright future ahead of him and he puts that smile on your face,” Beckham said. “It reminds me of when I was young, it was my second year in the league, and you’re just happy to do what he is doing, so it is reassuring to see that from him.”

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