This offseason, the New York Giants added a top free agent wide receiver in Kenny Golladay and then used their first-round draft pick on another stud in Florida’s Kadarius Toney.
They also signed legendary speedster John Ross, a former first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent. Those additions pushed the Giants’ two top wideouts — Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard — to the rear of the depth chart in fans’ minds.
The truth of the matter is those moves have only motivated Shepard.
On draft day, head coach Joe Judge called Shepard to alert him that the team was selecting a receiver in the first round. Shepard appreciated the call and it solidified Judge’s leadership and further gained his respect.
Asked about the punitive actions judge imposed on the team after the huge brawl on Tuesday, Shepard supported Judge’s actions.
“If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to leave. That’s the way we do things around here. I don’t mind it,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
In camp this year, Shepard is the longest-tenured Giant and he is proving it. As a slot receiver, he has predominantly been covered by second-year corner Darnay Holmes and is challenging Holmes to be better player.
Sterling Shepard has been a difficult coverage assignment for Darnay Holmes so far in Giants camp: “I want to be the hardest guy he has to guard all year.”
Shepard says he and Holmes talk after every route, and he offers as much teaching as he can: what worked, what didn’t.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) August 4, 2021
This offseason, Judge wanted Shepard to come to camp in the best shape of his life. Over the last two seasons, Shepard missed a total of 10 games due to injury. Judge wants his veteran wideout to be able to stay on the field more in 2021.
“I feel great,” said Shepard.
Last year in 12 games, Shepard had 66 catches for 656 yards and three touchdowns. Prorate that over 16 games and he would have had 88 receptions for 874 yards and a perhaps a few more scores.