Danny Shelton had a strong senior season and followed it up with a good Senior Bowl week, but questions still remain what he will be at the next level. Will he be more of an every down NT/DT who plays 70-80% of the defensive snaps, or will he be limited to an early down guy who plays maybe 45-55% of the snaps?
If it is the former Shelton is well worth a high first round pick and could be the type of guy who anchors your defense. If it’s more of the latter, he could be risky using a top 50 pick on.
When Shelton is on his game he at times looks unblockable and can be a terror to opposing rushing attacks, while adding some threat to push the pocket versus the pass. Unfortunately there are some serious questions with how much he will be on his game at the next level.
Shelton on paper had 93 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss and 9 sacks in 14 games, which looks very impressive. But in three of his non-conference games versus Hawaii, Eastern Washington and Georgia State, Shelton had 37 tackles, 9.5 TFLs and 7 sacks. That means in his remaining 11 games Shelton had just 56 tackles, 7 TFLs and 2 sacks which are more average numbers. At the next level he’s not going to have many games where he’s facing massively inferior opponents. He’s going to have to win more versus average-to-good players.
This doesn’t mean that Shelton can’t end up reaching his potential, just that there is less certainty to his game than the numbers and perhaps the hype suggests.