Pittsburgh DE Jabaal Sheard, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2010, could contend for a major role immediately in Cleveland.
The 6-2 7/8, 264-pound Sheard joins a team transitioning to a "40" front and short on options at defensive end. Sheard, who notched 19½ sacks playing left defensive end at Pitt, figures to, at the least, conttribute as a rotational player, and it would not be a surprise if he were a starter.
Here is personnel analyst Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on Sheard from PFW's 2011 Draft Preview book:
Notes: Has a child. Also competed in track and field (shot put) as a Florida prep. Saw limited action in nine games as a true freshman in 2007, recording three tackles, zero for loss and zero sacks with two passes batted down. Started all 26 games at left defensive end opposite Greg Romeus in '08 and '09: tallied 45-10½-5½ with seven batted passes and a forced fumble in '08; and 42-10½-5 with three batted passes in '09. Had a right wrist injury during '10 spring practice. Arrested in mid-July '10 and charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct after he threw another man through the glass door of an art gallery and had to be pepper-sprayed. Ultimately pleaded guilty to a summary offense of disorderly conduct and was reinstated following team suspension. In the fall, was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year after registering 52-14½-9 with four batted passes and four forced fumbles in 12 starts at left defensive end. Elected to have elbow surgery and sit out the Compass Bowl after playing the season with a right thumb injury and bone chips in his left elbow that he wore braces to protect. Team captain.
Positives: Good athletic ability and knee bend - plays with leverage. Generally locates the ball. Light on his feet with a quick first step and long second step. Has long arms and is a good hands fighter - can slap, club, pull and tug to work free. Can get underneath a tackle and bull his way to the quarterback. Sets up his inside move and flashes a quick spin. Good instincts. Aggressive football temperament - competes and plays with consistent effort and energy. Hardworking and tough and will play through injuries.
Negatives: Lacks bulk and bulk strength. Not stout at the point of attack. Shows some tightness in his hips. Lacks elite shoulder flexibility and burst at the top of his rush to consistently leverage the edge. Can be overaggressive at times and take himself out of position. Thuds up ballcarriers but is not an explosive, drive-through tackler. Was not asked to drop into coverage very often. Has been dinged up. Character requires closer examination.
Summary: A good-sized, high-cut, high-motor collegiate left end, Sheard stood out playing through injuries as a senior and looks most natural rushing from a wide alignment. Boasts a polished, speed-power combination and projects as a right end or rush linebacker at the next level.
NFL projection: Second- to third-round pick.