My bold prediction for the 2010 season: Sam Shields earns special teams player of the year.
Yes, I know that Shields is an undrafted rookie and is not even close to being a lock to make the team. But look at his stats, speed, and versatility, you can pretty much determine that Shields could be the undrafted steal of the year. He can also be an option at cornerback.
As any Wisconsin Badger fan would know, Shields is pretty fast. Last December, Shields took a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, and no one was even close to him. Yes the play was called back, but that doesn't take anything from Shields.
Shields is definitely a speedster. His unofficial time in the 40 at his pro day was 4.28, although the official times were 4.30 and 4.33. That is still extremely fast. That is the speed that can find its way onto the field.
Shields went undrafted for one main reason, he got busted for a misdemeanor drug charge. The charge is in the past and Shields is ready to move on. Other than that, his speed should have got him drafted.
With than his blazing speed, Shields loves to play special teams. For a guy that was receiver turned cornerback, you would think he would want to play on either side of the ball, not Shields however.
Shields could take over the kick return duties as Will Blackmon is better suited for punt returns. Then again, there is no guarantee that Blackmon comes back 100 percent so Shields could be an option for either.
Shields isn't only an option for return duties, he also loves covering kicks.
In a quote, courtesy of JSOnline.com: "Gunner - that's one of my specialties right there," said Shields. "I love it. I forced a lot of fair catches."
He would be the gunner that can get down to the return man in the blink of an eye and shore up a special teams unit that was far from stellar in the 2009 season.
It's a long road for an undrafted free agent, but Shields has all the tools to do it. Expect Shields to not only make the team, but be one of the most dynamic players on the special teams unit.