Continuing our series looking at the playing careers of Detroit Lions coaches, we take a look at linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard.
To this point, in our series taking a look at the playing careers of members of the Detroit Lions coaching, we’ve done offensive line coach Hank Fraley and assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley.
Linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard is next up.
Sheppard is entering his second season on the Lions’ coaching staff, with a role change from outside linebackers coach in 2021 to linebackers coach this year. In 2020 he worked as director of player development at LSU, his alma mater, under Ed Orgeron–helping players with academic direction, social development and overall quality of life.
Sheppard was a young linebacker on LSU’s national title team in 2007. Off back-to-back 100-plus tackle seasons to end his college career, the Buffalo Bills took him in the third round (No. 68 overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Detroit Lions coaches as players: Linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard
Sheppard started 24 games of 32 games over two seasons with the Bills, with at least 70 total tackles in both campaigns. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, with 46 total tackles over 15 games (seven starts) for them in 2013.
Sheppard then moved on and signed with the Miami Dolphins. In his second season there, 2015, he set his career high with 105 tackles while starting 13 of 16 games. Then Sheppard spent two seasons with the New York Giants (2016-17), with a short detour with the Chicago Bears during the 2017 preseason in between. He started 17 of the 23 total games he played for the Giants.
Sheppard spent the final season of his career with the Lions. He played in seven games, with one start in Matt Patricia’s first season as head coach.
Over eight NFL seasons with five teams, Sheppard played in 107 games (63 starts) with 429 total tackles (281 solo), 25 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups.
The perception of Sheppard’s work thus far with the Lions’ linebackers is very good. Barely into his coaching career, he’s an under-the-radar rising star to keep an eye on.