Scouting Report: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

Danny Shelton was a four star recruit out of Auburn, Washington weighing in at 300 lbs in high school. He was recruited to play at CAL, Oregon, and UCLA, but chose Washington to play in-state for the Washington Huskies. Shelton played rotationally for the Huskies as a true freshman and then earned the starting role in his sophomore year at nose tackle. After a very successful college career, Shelton entered the 2015 NFL Draft and should be an early 1st round pick this April as the top nose tackle of the class.

College Career Overview

It is very difficult for nose tackles to get recognition for their skill-set due to their role as a support player in the trenches taking on multiple blockers, but Shelton was an exception. In the 2014 season, Shelton’s game clicked and he recorded 16.5 tackles for loss along with 9.0 sacks. Granted 6.0 of his 9.0 sacks came in the first two weeks of the season against Hawaii (2.0) and Eastern Washington (4.0), but he was a consistent force in the run game eating up two blockers and showing surprising pursuit for a 340 lb lineman.


DOB 1993 (not listed) Bench (225 lb) 34 reps
Height 6’2″ Vertical Jump 30-1/2″
Weight 339 lbs Broad Jump 7’11”
Arms 32″ 20 Yard Shuttle 4.65 sec
Hands 10-1/4″ 3 Cone Drill 7.99 sec
40 Yard Dash (10 yd split) 5.46 sec (1.88 sec) 60 Yard Shuttle N/A


Stats and Awards

University of Washington (2011-2014) 3x First-team Academic All-PAC-12 (2012,2013,2014)
2014 – 93 tackles (16.5 for loss), 9.0 sacks First team All-PAC-12 (2014)
2013 – 59 tackles (3.5 for loss), 2.0 sacks, 3 PD, 2 Blocked Kicks First Academic All-American (2014)
2012 – 45 tackles (4.0 for loss), 0.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Blocked Kick First-team AP All-American (2014)
2011 – 11 tackles, 2 PD


Scouting Report

  • Massive frame that commands double-teams and can hold down the point of attack.
  • Surprising lateral quickness to run sideline-to-sideline against playing styles like Oregon.
  • Variety of pass rush moves that should allow him to be a three down NT. Excellent bullrush and bulljerk as expected for his size. Needs to use inside rip move more often due to his size as compared to offensive lineman he will be facing in the NFL. Swim move was very effective in college due to his burst off of the snap.
  • Pad level rises too high where he is almost standing. Loses leverage sometimes, because of it. This is his biggest criticism.
  • Intelligent football player that is good at play recognition, in particular screen plays.
  • Inconsistent motor. Sometimes exceptional especially in pursuit, but other times it was lacking.
  • Played a very high percentage of defensive snaps, which is extremely impressive considering he is 340 lbs.
  • Ideal place is a 3-4 nose tackle (0- or 1-tech) or putting him as a 4-3 1-tech.

Film Study

1. Double Teams

As a nose tackle your main responsibility is to take on double teams by being unstoppable in 1-on-1 situations. In order to do this you need strength, size, and the ability to transfer those effectively by good hand placement on your blocker. Shelton does this perfectly here on this bullrush. Simply put, one man is not enough to block him.

There are plenty of late round nose tackles that can clog the running lanes by having a big body, but a nose tackle that can also show pass rushing ability is an extremely valuable commodity. Casey Hampton in his prime was one of the best at this and helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls. Vince Wilfork for the Patriots is one of the best NTs in the NFL right now. Here are two plays showing Shelton’s large body in action against multiple blockers. He maintains his strength at the point of attack and keeps pushing them into the backfield.

2. Pass Rush

Shelton showed a variety of pass rushing moves that makes him a very intriguing prospect to scout. First, the bullrush is the most basic pass rush move that is used throughout the game. Here are two good examples of his bullrush with the first bullrush being my personal favorite, while the second actually resulted in a sack on the play.

With the bullrush as the most common move, the bulljerk becomes the most underrated move for an interior defensive lineman because it uses the blockers’ weight against him. This can be seen in these two plays. The first in a pass rush to get a QB hurry, and the second in a running situation to get a run stop.

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Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.