Today we take a look at the greatest interior defensive lineman to wear the purple and gold since the great Steve Emtman.
4/25: Andrew Hudson, DE
4/27: Marcus Peters, DB
4/28: Hau'oli Kikaha, LB
4/29: Shaq Thompson, LB/DB
Danny Shelton | Nose Tackle | 6'2" | 339 lbs
Performance Notes: Played 13 games in 2011 as an understudy to Alameda Ta'amu. Started 13 games in 2012, recorded 46 tackles, and earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Earned the same honors in 2013, ratcheting up his production to 59 total tackles. Put it all together for a dominant campaign in his first year under Coach Petersen, totaling a ridiculous 93 total tackles and 9.0 sacks. Named All-Pac-12 First Team and First Team All-American by USA Today.
Strengths: Rare size and exceptional strength. Perfectly suited for the role of the nose tackle: engaging and occupying multiple blockers in order to plug up the middle of the defense. Despite playing well over his listed weight of 339, Shelton consistently chased ball-carriers from sideline to sideline, recording tackles that no nose tackle should ever be expected to make. Owed many of his sacks to pure hustle. Despite this extra exertion, he managed to play over 80% of Washington's defensive snaps. Off the field, a three-time first-team Academic All-American who overcame the adversity of witnessing his brother's murder shortly before the beginning of his college career.
Weaknesses: Danny could benefit from better use of his hands. Sometimes gets stuck on blocks when active hands might help free him up. Despite the impressive number of sacks this past season, Shelton did not demonstrate the type of pass-rushing technique that would suggest similar production at the next level. Some concern about weight fluctuation.
Ideal Fit: Just about any 3-4 team with a need at nose tackle will have interest. Early comparisons to star interior players like Haloti Ngata are likely unfair for a player more suited to a role as a massive run-stuffing, two-gapping tackle. I personally have some hope that Shelton can prove disruptive enough to play all three downs, but prospective teams should view any pass-rush production as a bonus of sorts. A player with his bizarre combination of quickness, violence, and boundless energy does not come along often at the position. Nearly 100% of the mock drafts I have seen include Shelton in the 1st round, and he has accepted an invitation to the Draft.
Prediction: Drafted, Early 1st Round.
Draft Tape - vs. Oregon 2014