New York Jets: Breaking down the impact of Nathan Shepherd’s suspension

New York Jets defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd has reportedly been suspended for six games for two separate violations of the NFL’s PED policy.

The New York Jets were dealt yet another blow on Tuesday when they learned that reserve defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd would be suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s PED policy, per a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

This suspension comes as a result of two separate violations of the policy that Shepherd himself has admitted to. It is refreshing to see a player openly admit to their wrongs, but that certainly shouldn’t change anything.

In his own words, this is what Shepherd had to say about his suspension.

“I was coming off of a subpar season and a new coaching staff, new playbook, new everything. In my mindset, I didn’t feel very confident with how everything had gone thus far. In my mind, I was so prepared to come into this offseason and have a successful offseason and train very hard. I felt that because of (injury) limitations, I wasn’t going to be able to do that. I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go.”

Shepherd’s suspension comes on the heels of the Jets embarrassing 17-16 loss at home to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. After blowing a 16-point second-half lead, the Jets didn’t exactly need any more bad news to come out of this week.

The 25-year-old was originally drafted by the Jets in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Division II Fort Hays State. His unlikely road to the NFL has been well documented, but his rookie season was certainly not one to look back fondly on.

Despite beginning the season as a starter, Shepherd managed only 15 total tackles in 16 games and was soon replaced in the starting lineup by a surging Henry Anderson.

Shepherd entered this summer looking to regain a role in the rotation but a lackluster preseason left him on the roster bubble. Somewhat surprisingly, Shepherd managed to make the final 53-man roster, but was left inactive in the team’s Week 1 opener on Sunday.

For that reason, Shepherd’ suspension likely shouldn’t have a huge impact on how the team executes its defensive gameplan going forward. He wasn’t a contributor in the defensive line rotation anyways and the team has a ton of depth at that spot.

Aside from Shepherd, other defensive linemen such as Folorunso Fatukasi, Kyle Phillips, and John Franklin-Myers were all left inactive on Sunday. So with that much depth, it could be good for the Jets to open up a roster spot for another position.

It’s unclear who exactly will take Shepherd’s roster spot during his suspenion and if he’ll even have one upon his return. The Jets worked out a bunch of players in practice on Tuesday and could announce a signing at any point.

Or perhaps they could promote a player from their practice squad at a more pressing position, such as cornerback Kyron Brown or a receiver liked Jeff Smith or Greg Dortch — although the latter two are better suited as special teamers.

Next: New York Jets Offensive Report Card: Week 1 vs. Buffalo Bills

Shepherd may have ultimately played his last game as a member of the Jets, or at the very least he won’t be suiting up in green and white anytime soon.

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