DANNY SHELTON- 6’2, 332- SR.
With the advent of speed-intensive blitz packages in today’s pass-heavy NFL, the traditional nose tackle is a bit of a dying breed. Still though, the position is a necessity on run downs for teams that run 3-4 defenses. Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton will look to create interest among those teams as he heads into his senior year.
Shelton had only two sacks in 2013 and is by no means an elite pass rusher, but he has surprisingly good athleticism for his massive build. He’s an exceptionally disciplined player and can be very effective as a run stopper. He consistently positions himself in the right spot, and whenever running backs dare to run at him, he seems to bring them down.
We saw Louis Nix III, widely regarded as the best nose tackle in the 2014 draft class, slide all the way into the third round this May because of the lack of need across the league at the nose position. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Shelton suffer the same fate, but he still should be one of the more highly-regarded nose tackles in this year’s class.
POSITIVES: Solid tackler, does a good job of getting to the ball carrier…disciplined, gets in the perfect position to eat up runners who come at him…surprisingly good athletic ability, can jump up and swat down passes…has a quick initial burst…has some nice, deceptive pass rush moves…big enough to play 3-4 nose tackle, usually lines up over the center…
NEGATIVES: Since he is pretty much limited to nose tackle, is probably a two-down player at best in the NFL…plays too high at times and gets pushed back…could probably stand to shed some weight…had a rough youth that could give some personnel departments uneasy feelings; in a gang-related incident prior to his freshman year, he witnessed his brother being shot to death and beat the shooter in the face with a gun. Shelton has admitted that he retains significant anger issues and admitted racist feelings toward African Americans.
2014 Outlook: Shelton, who was named a preseason All-American by The Sporting News, will look to have a strong senior season under new head coach Chris Petersen. He’ll have plenty of tough competition the Pac-12, including the always-tough Stanford offensive line and an Oregon front which includes highly-regarded center Hroniss Grasu.
Talent Grade: Late Second/Early Third Round
Rams Role: Because he’s a pure nose tackle, Shelton doesn’t totally fit what the Rams do defensively. However, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has used players similar to him before: think Shaun Rogers in New Orleans. The Rams probably have higher priorities than defensive tackle in the first few rounds next year, but maybe he could be a guy they could go after if he should fall for some reason.
Film Watched: vs. Illinois (2013), vs. UCLA (2013), vs. Stanford (2013), vs. Colorado (2013), vs. BYU (2013)