Ex-Packers WR Signs With Chiefs After Minicamp Tryout

Darrius Shephard Chiefs

Getty WR/KR Darrius Shepherd

Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver and kickoff returner Darrius Shepherd is heading to Kansas City to return kicks and catch passes from Patrick Mahomes.

As first reported by Nate Taylor of The Athletic, the former undrafted free agent caught on with Green Bay in 2019, where he spent the last two seasons with the Packers serving primarily as a minor role player on offense and a kickoff returner on special teams.

Shepherd played in 14 games for the Packers over the last two seasons, catching six passes for 46 yards. He spent time on the practice squad both years, and eventually made his way onto the active roster each season. His biggest contribution to the team was on kickoff returns. He returned 20 kicks over two years in Green Bay for 374 yards (that’s 18.7 yards per return) with no touchdowns.

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This Will Be a Homecoming of Sorts for Shepherd

A tad on the smaller side, the 5-foot-11, 186-pound Shepherd was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and he attended local area Blue Springs High School, so signing with the Chiefs allows the versatile wideout the opportunity to play in his own backyard, so to speak.

Shepherd elected to attend college at North Dakota State, where he had 188 catches for 2,841 yards and 20 touchdowns in his four seasons, while also serving as a kick returner.

He’s not the fastest or most agile player out there, running a 4.46 40-yard dash, but he impressed in his limited time with the Packers. “He’s been a nice surprise for us so far. Long way to go, but he’s earned more opportunities,” Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said about Shepherd in August of 2019. “He had a pretty productive year at a very good program, but a smaller program. Obviously he’s not the biggest player out there. His measurements aren’t typically what you’re looking for. Didn’t run particularly fast at his pro day. But he’s a football player. … He has that instinctual ability to find spots, get open, catch the ball.”

Now, he’ll get the opportunity to catch passes from another one of the best signal-callers in the NFL while also still being a part of one of the top teams in the league.

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What Kind of Role Will Shepherd Have in Kansas City?

Shepherd must have made a mark during the Chiefs’ three-day minicamp, because they signed him while waiving offensive lineman Martinas Rankin in a corresponding roster move.

With Tyreek Hill the clear No. 1 in Kansas City, Shepherd will try to find his way into a wide receivers group that currently includes Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Antonio Callaway Byron Pringle and Cornell Powell, who the Chiefs selected in the fifth round of the draft this year. He’ll have his work cut out for him when it comes to making the 53-man roster, but perhaps his special teams skills will push him over the top.

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