NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Every team wants a pass rusher, and every team that has a pass rusher wants another pass rusher. Players with the ability to get through an offensive line and find the quarterback on a regular basis are at a premium.
University of Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton isn't listed as a defensive end, but his skill set may be more valuable than any edge player in the draft. At 6-1, 343 pounds, Shelton is built like a coke machine, allowing him to eat up double teams at the point of attack and stuff an interior running game. His speed and athleticism allows him to chase down running backs running outside.
Similar to wide receiver Kevin White, Shelton experienced a similar rise up draft boards as a senior in 2014.
Danny Shelton, DT (Washington)
As a senior, Shelton posted 16.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and an NCAA FBS-leading five fumble recoveries. His postseason awards included first team All-America honors (USA Today, SB Nation), second team All-America honors (Walter Camp, CBS Sports), CoSIDA Academic All-America first team and first team All-Pac-12.
Shelton became the first Husky to be named first team Academic All-American since 1991 and was the only All-American in the nation to also be named Academic All-American.
Most experts have Shelton ranked as the second best interior lineman behind Leonard Williams of USC.
Bleacher Report's NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller has the Giants taking Shelton with the ninth overall pick. ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have Shelton going one spot earlier to the Chicago Bears at pick seven.
Shelton could play as a one-technique nose tackle or a three-technique pass rush tackle in a 4-3 scheme. He might, however, be best suited as a zero-technique nose tackle in a 3-4 like Vince Wilfork has done for so long in New England.
The Titans' coaching staff got a great look at Shelton at this year's Senior Bowl as he was a member of Ken Whisenhunt's North Team.
Strengths: A Dominant Force
Miller: "I love Danny Shelton. It's funny because he is being talked about a lot and I've really enjoyed breaking down his game tape. He never leaves the field. He's 340-plus pounds, he's athletic and he's fast. He's got great natural leverage because he's only 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2. He is an unmovable force in the middle of the line.
"I don't think he'll be a top-tier sack guy. He'll be a lot better plugging holes and stopping the run. He may get some sacks by flushing the pocket, but I don't think that's his game."
Needs to Show: 60-Minute Endurance
Miller: "I think when he gets tired you see his pad height start to get a little lazy. He starts to stand up a little bit, but he's still strong enough to anchor and control the line of scrimmage. Even when he's playing poorly he is still an impact player. It's just about learning to be more consistent.
NFL Comparison: Haloti Ngata (Ravens)
Miller: "I compare Shelton to a sawed-off Haloti-Ngata. He's not quite as big, but plays a very similar type of football."