Kelvin Sheppard’s run as middle linebacker in Buffalo will end after two seasons. (Photo courtesy of BuffaloBills.com)
BBD Editor: Dan Hope
Two disappointing runs for early-round draft picks came to an end with the teams that selected them on Monday, when the Buffalo Bills traded inside linebacker and 2011 third-round pick Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts for outside linebacker and 2010 first-round pick Jerry Hughes, according to the Bills’ official team website.
Sheppard made 24 starts for the Bills over the past two seasons and racked up 150 total tackles, but he did not establish himself as the three-down presence and playmaker at middle linebacker that the team hoped they had drafted two years ago. Now, as the Bills switch to a defense that emphasizes versatility and uses many 3-4 fronts, the run-stopping middle linebacker did not project to be a great fit in their defense.
Hughes was drafted with expectations of becoming a big-impact pass-rusher in the Colts’ defensive end rotation, but he has been a big disappointment, managing just five sacks in his first three seasons. That said, he has experience playing both defensive end and outside linebacker, and after the Bills surprisingly chose not to draft any pass-rushers this year, he will provide much-needed depth on the edge.