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2011 NFL Draft: Jabaal Sheard | April

Jabaal Sheard
NFL.com: Not in first round
ESPN: Not in first round
National Football Post: 21 (Kansas City)
Football's Future: 45 (San Fransico)
NFL Draft Countdown: 50 (San Diego)
Walter Football: 38 (Arizona)

There might be no player in the nation who helped his draft stock more this year than Jabaal Sheard.  With Greg Romeus out for the season with back / knee issues, Sheard stepped up as a player and as a leader.

Unfortunately for Jabaal, he's most remembered for his Southside "Beast Mode" rather than his North Shore version.  That's particularly disappointing considering he was the conference defensive player of the year and was a very strong leader for the team as the season crumbled around him.

The Boston Herald had a piece on Sheard yesterday:

“I think it made me a lot more humble and hungry,” Sheard said yesterday. “It was an incident where I messed up and made a mistake. I felt like I let down my teammates. I had to find a way to go back out there and be a great teammate. Thank God they let me back on the team and they accepted me. I mean, it was something that set me back a little bit, (but) it made me hungrier in the long run.

“All the people I let down, I had to make up for it. But it was really out of my character.”

By all indications, it was the exception, not the rule. By most accounts, Sheard is a model citizen. That’s why it should be noted after he got in trouble, after the case was settled and Pittsburgh reinstated him, he was voted a team captain.

ESPN Boston seems to think Sheard is a possibility for the Patriots as well.  With four picks in the first 60 selections and a need for a 3-4 outside linebacker, they'd probably be the favorite to take Sheard.

Other common posibilities include San Diego and Kansas City.

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com breaks down his game:

Underrated: Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh: Sheard isn't a traditional pass-rushing end -- a sudden athlete capable of beating NFL-caliber offensive tackles with speed alone. Sheard has a surprisingly strong bull rush at 6-3, 264 pounds, and has shown consistent improvement throughout his career. Rather than fall apart while facing double teams after "star" Greg Romeus went down because of an injury, Sheard raised his game, earning the Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors with 52 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and four forced fumbles. Sheard, likely to be taken between picks 20-45, will be more productive as a rookie than at least a few of the more highly touted defensive ends of this draft.

And no, there doesn't seem to be much interest from the Steelers.  They have their outside rushers and probably don't need another one right now.