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Giants’ 90-man roster: In roster fight, special teams is Russell Shepard’s calling card

Veteran wide receiver facing plenty of competition

NFL: New York Giants-OTA
Russell Shepard catches a pass during OTAs.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to argue about many of the choices Dave Gettleman has made since becoming general manager of the New York Giants. One thing that should be agreed upon, though, is that Gettleman has placed a major emphasis on improving the special teams play and has added several accomplished special teamers to the roster.

One of those is veteran wide receiver Russell Shepard, who has spent most of his NFL career as a backup wide receiver and key special teams player.

Let’s take a closer look at Shepard as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 195
Age: 28
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: 6

How he got here

Shepard signed with the Giants last season after being let go by the Carolina Panthers. In Carolina, he had been signed by Gettleman to a three-year, $10 million contract. When he landed in New York, Gettleman brought Shepard with him.

Shepard spent four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before spending one with Carolina. As a wide receiver, Shepard has 57 career catches, 10 of which came last season with the Giants.

In 12 games last season, Shepard played 202 special teams snaps and 184 on offense.

2019 outlook

Shepard is in a group with veteran Bennie Fowler and undrafted players like Alex Wesley and Reggie White Jr. competing for the final wide receiver spots on the 53-man roster. In my initial 53-man roster projection I left Shepard off, but when you think about the Giants’ emphasis on special teams over the past couple of offseasons I believe there is a good chance the Giants find a way to keep Shepard around.