Chicago Bears Draft Prospect Profile: DT Danny Shelton
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With the draft roughly a month away Beargoggleson will be breaking down a wide range of options for the Chicago Bears in the 2015 draft. We’ll start with the potential first round options, breakdown some possible day 2 prospects, and finish up with some under the radar day 3 players who I think could be good fits for the Bears new schemes on both sides of the ball. As always, if you have any complaints, advice, or questions please let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
DT Danny Shelton, Washington
Measurables – 6’2 | 339
Attributes (40 | bench | vertical | 3-cone) – 5.64 | 34 reps | 30.5″| 7.99
College: Was solid as a sophomore and junior, earning honorable mention all Pac-12 both seasons. Shelton broke out his senior year with an AP All-American award and a ridiculous 90 tackles, 16.5 TFls, and 9.5 sacks. Both the tackle and sack totals are amazing for a man that routinely weighs in at over 350 pounds. One reason his production was so much better than a traditional NT is Shelton’s unusual stamina. Most big NTs need to be rotated out constantly to stay fresh, but Shelton has the ability to stay on the field for extended drives if need be.
Strengths: The best NT prospect in the country in my opinion. Shelton is a beast inside with a quick first step, consistently low pad level, and the strength to hold the point of attack against double teams. Coming into 2014 Shelton was considered primarily a run stopper, but the 339 pounder had 9.5 sacks as a senior and an even more impressive 90 total tackles. His quickness gets him in the backfield, but his motor in pursuit, exceptional stamina, and surprising closing speed resulted in career high sack and tackle totals. Shelton also blocked 3 kicks this year on special teams. He can do it all as a 3-4 NT. Shelton was also the most dominant D-lineman at the Senior Bowl
Weaknesses: Sometimes his stamina and refusal to come off the field is a weakness as his technique gets sloppy as he tires. When gassed, Shelton has a tendency to fire off the ball high which negates some of his power. He also doesn’t have any go-to pass rush moves with most of his sacks coming from a powerful bull-rush or relentless pursuit. As a classic 2-gap NT, pass rush skills aren’t necessarily a must have, but developing at least 1 or 2 successful pass rush moves would make Shelton into a potential All-Pro NT. As with any 330 pound player, his ability to stay near that weight will be a concern for some teams.
Bears Fit: Do the Bears even want a 2-gap NT in the middle of their defense? During Vic Fangio’s four years with the 49ers, they never used a traditional 2-gap NT, preferring instead quicker 1-gap NTs similar to the Bears Jay Ratliff. On the other hand, HC John Fox showed a preference for big space-eating DTs deploying both 335-pound (at least) Terrance Knighton and 327-pound Sylvester Williams. We still don’t know exactly what the Bears new 3-4 scheme will look like, but if it’s similar to what Fangio ran with the Niners, then the Bears will most likely pass on Shelton. If they are going to go with a more traditional 3-4 scheme, then Shelton would be the perfect fit.
Draft Projection: Top 15