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Danny Shelton, the massive defensive tackle for the Washington Huskies, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a productive career as a three year starter along the defensive line. During his career at Washington, he registered 204 tackles, 24 TFLs and 11.5 sacks. He had an especially impressive 2014 season rushing the passer, as he enjoyed a career high 9 sacks. Shelton was named First Team All-Pac 12 in 2014 (was named honorable mention in 2013.). It’s worth noting that Shelton was also named an Academic All-American this year. Physically, Shelton is the classic “mountain of a man.” He’s not the tallest or longest of prospects, but he is wide, thick and stout; he has the perfect physical makeup for the NT spot in a 34. That said, he has enough initial quickness and overall athleticism to fit in a 43, as he won’t just be a guy who takes up space and eats blocks. He has a very thick lower half that serves him well when hunkering down at the POA. His midsection is a little sloppy, and he’ll need to make sure he doesn’t add any more weight. Athletically, Shelton isn’t “fast” but he does have some plus quickness for a man that’s nearly 340 lbs. He has lighter-than-expected feet and is coordinated enough to stay off the ground throughout the duration of the play. He has a good motor, too, as he doesn’t quit on plays and gives it his all to chase a ballcarrier down from behind. Against the run, Shelton eats up a ton of space and frees up his defensive teammates to make plays. He faced a lot of double teams and still fared well, registering his fare share of tackles and disruptions in the backfield. He does a really nice job with his hands at the POA; he gets into the OL chest and generally controls the action. I’d like to see him shed blocks more consistently, but even when he is locked up with the opposing lineman, he rarely gives up ground or is moved away from the play’s aiming point. He does a nice job finishing plays when he’s in a position to make a tackle, and his motor generally allows for him to be in on most of the plays run at or near him. Against the pass, Shelton flashed a surprising array of pass rush moves that combined his raw power with his impressive quickness. On several occasions, he flashed a quick and effective swim move that complements his power/bull rush nicely; he keeps the opposing lineman guessing. While he doesn’t project as much of a pass rusher in the NFL, he shouldn’t be discounted much in this department. He will penetrate and make his presence felt in the passing game.
BOTTOM LINE: Danny Shelton is one of those players that might not flash “superstar” talent on the field, but he is a rare find because of his combination of size, above-average athletic ability, motor and intellegence. Guys like him will play for 10+ years in the NFL, with most of them as a highly-productive starter. He has a chance to be a poor man’s Vince Wilfork on the next level, although he shouldn’t be expected to make as many “wow” plays throughout his career. He’s a first-round talent.
GRADE: 8.0 (1st Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)