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Sheppard looked like a good fit all along; LSU linebacker showed his speed

Just before the Buffalo Bills made Kelvin Sheppard the team's third-round pick, his Twitter page was like a live wire because Bills fans made it known they wanted the LSU linebacker.

"The fans were blowing me up saying, 'Take Sheppard, take Sheppard,' " he said on Friday. "I can't wait to see the transition to Buffalo -- I can't wait to get up there."

Apparently, neither can the Bills who took the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Sheppard with fourth pick in the third round and the 68th pick overall. For Sheppard, a native of Stone Mountain, Ga., it is almost like a homecoming.

The Bills coaching staff watched Sheppard closely during January's Senior Bowl where he shined all week.

"I kind of had a feeling down there," said Sheppard, who recorded 116 tackles in 13 games last season. "It was a good vibe with the coaching staff, everything was clicking right and I adjusted well to the plays they installed, the plays Coach George [Edwards] installed and it was great for me."

When he visited the Bills for a pre-draft interview in March, Sheppard's feeling grew stronger.

"After being down at the Senior Bowl and having that contact with the coaches once I stepped in the door everyone was like, 'Shepp, what's up man?' " Sheppard said. "Just the contact, the good feeling, the good vibe I got on the visit, all the arrows pointed toward the Buffalo Bills. You never know how the draft goes and I'm just thankful for the opportunity."

He certainly strengthened his draft status at the Senior Bowl. Sheppard was considered an inside linebacker because he lacked lateral quickness to play sideline-to-sideline which will help against the run.

"That's what I heard and that kind of stuff gets around," Sheppard said. "My agent and the people around me got the word to me -- I work hard to get bigger but at the same time make sure my lateral sideline-to-sideline was in place so I could go down to the Senior Bowl and show off some of my skills."

Bills coach Chan Gailey said he looked better in person than he did on video.

"He made all-conference and we heard some good things about him, but we also heard there were some limitations with him running sideline-to-sideline and we saw just the opposite," Gailey said. "We saw a guy who could make plays all over the field and that was an eye-opener for us."

Gailey also liked the way Sheppard plays with emotion.

"That feeling I get before the game, I can't really put it into words," Sheppard said. "I've been playing the game of football ever since I was five years old and it really means everything to me. The feeling after a victory is like no other in my opinion and I just take that to the game and try to spread it throughout my teammates."

Sheppard said he's looking forward to lighting a fire under Marcell Dareus, the Bills first-round pick.

"I see we got big Marcell in front of me and I'm going to try to get his big butt fired up before those games so he can keep those linemen off me," he said.

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com

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