Jabaal Sheard, DE, University of Pittsburgh

While a potential lockout looms over the 2011 NFL season, the NFL draft will be business as usual between April 28th-30th at Radio City Music Hall.  Like last year, I’ll be bringing you a special Rookie Roundup series, with intimate profiles featuring several of the names you’ll hear called in late April.  Today’s rookie…

(For all the 2011 Rookie Roundup profiles, click here.)

Jabaal Sheard

Defensive End


Career Stats: 144 Tackles, 19 Sacks (9 in 2010)

Projection: Last 1st Round/Early 2nd Round

Jabaal Sheard Q & A

Melissa Jacobs: Several aspects of your football resume are impressive but nothing stands out as much as you helping an elderly lady escape from a burning building.  Describe the circumstances for us.

Jabaal Sheard: I was about 11.  Me and a couple guys from the neighborhood were just riding around town on bikes.  I came across a house, in the tough neighborhood where we grew it up.  The house was smoking and the fire alarm was going off and nobody called the police and everyone just looking at it.  My friends and I tried to help out, so we called the police first and then entered the building.  It ended up being an old lady in the kitchen who had fallen down and was unconscious.  It was a good thing that we did end up calling the police because they came and rescued her.

MJ: So you basically saved her life?

JS: Yes, I guess.

MJ: Now, on to football.  How have you been preparing for the Combine, both mentally and physically?

JS: I’m down in one of the hardest places to stay focused down, Miami, but I’m also in one of the top programs for preparing for the Combine, Pete Bommarito.   He’s a tough guy, and he works me hard day in and day out, getting me and guys around me ready for the Combine.  I’m just down here focused, and I’m so hungry, because this has been the biggest last three months of my career.

MJ: How much does the potential lockout enter your thoughts? Any backup plan if you can’t play this season?

JS: Well, I took that into consideration before I picked my agent, and I talked to my agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who made me confident that there’s not going to be a lockout, and the deal will get done.  If there is a lockout, he’ll probably take care of us guys.  And we’ll just continue to work out and just stay ready for when they do decide to make a decision on the contract.

MJ: John Thorton, a former NFL defensive tackle, wanted me to ask you if you’re comfortable playing on both sides of the ball.

JS:  Yeah, definitely.  Prior to last season, I know you probably didn’t watch film, but I played on my left side.  But I had surgery on my left elbow about a month ago.  That was an injury that I had for the last seven years of my career, so I wasn’t able to put my left arm down.  I got that taken care of and  as soon as I get my strength now, I’ll be able to put both arms down and play either side.

MJ: Pretend I’m an NFL GM and tell me in 30 seconds why I should draft you.

JS:  Well, I’m a hard worker.  You won’t have any problems worrying about me on the field.  I’m willing to get the job done, I’m a competitor.  I love winning and I’m a guy that will do whatever it takes to get on the field.  You can put me on special teams, wherever you need me.  I’m also that guy who stands out as a leader.  I have a voice, and I try to speak up when guys need motivation.  I’m self-motivated, and I just come from a hard background, I mean, I come from a tough neighborhood with a strong family who built all that in me.

MJ: How are you going to answer scouts that inquire about your assault charge of June 2010?

JS:  It’s just something that happened.  I was in college, and there’s a whole story to it, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m blaming anything. I know I messed up, and it was a mistake I made.  I know that people make mistakes, and it’s one that I won’t make again.  I have a great family that supported me, as well as my school and my teammates.  That was out of my character, and anyone who knows me — my coaches or my teammates — would know that.  It was just a one-time incident, and it won’t happen again.

MJ:  I know everyone wants to be a Top 10 pick, but is there something appealing too about potentially being taken by a team that’s already in the upper echelon.  And I ask that because I’ve seen some speculation that you’d be a good fit for the Green Bay Packers.

JS: [Laughs] I’ve been hearing that a lot too.  To play with a guy like Clay Matthews, that wouldn’t be bad.  A first rounder, I mean, it’s something that I could always tell my kids, that I was a first round pick.  It’s something you can always be remembered by.  Whether it’s first or second round, you’re guaranteed to make a payment.  It’s just something that’s so positive.  That’s something that I’ve dreamed of, and just to be in the NFL alone, it’s just amazing to have the opportunity that I have, and I can do nothing but go up from here.  I think my film speaks a lot and, hopefully, I have a great combine and can get into the first round. 

MJ:  We’re now going to take you through our own combine.  Let’s start with some very quick questions and answers to get to know you better.

MJ: First, your favorite NFL Team

JS:  Dolphins

MJ: Most underrated thing about Pittsburgh as a city

JS: Pittsburgh Panthers

MJ: Cool or Not Cool? The Black Eyed Peas

JS: I think they’ve got some good hits.  They’re pretty cool.

MJ: Cool or Not Cool? Mel Kiper Jr

JS: I haven’t paid attention to how he has me rated, but I’ll go with cool.

MJ: Cool or Not Cool? President Obama

JS: I think he’s cool.  He’s a great guy.

MJ: Favorite TV show ever

JS:  Fresh Prince of Bel Air

MJ: Mac or PC

JS: Mac

MJ: Football hero growing up

JS: Jason Taylor

MJ: Current lineman you most resemble

JS:  James Harrison

MJ: First thing you’re buying when you sign that NFL contract

JS: A house for my mom