Having a strong motor is very important for all defenders, but this determines if the team will utilize you as a first and second down NT or if you can play all three downs.
The one word to describe Shelton’s motor: Inconsistent. In big games against ranked opponents like Oregon and Stanford, Shelton stepped up and was relentless pursuing players across the field, while navigating back upfield if a player was already past him as seen in these two plays. Shelton shows his aggression by finishing plays and making sure the player is down. I absolutely love his pursuit back upfield to finish the receiver from behind.
However, there were certainly times where Shelton looked like he wasn’t giving 100% effort on a play. Like in this play it didn’t look like he was trying to move laterally to make the stop which could have saved the long touchdown run.
Lastly, for fun, he gets a fumble recovery through upfield pursuit and being at the right place at the right time.
Defensive lineman need to be intelligence in regards to play recognition. You can usually tell if a player’s field IQ by watching how they react on screen plays or option plays.
Here are two screen plays where Shelton does an excellent job of recognizing them and making an impact on the play.
One last that I noticed was that Shelton displayed surprising lateral quickness to shed blocks on stretch plays and make his way across formation to tackle the runningback seen in this play.
Overall, I was left very impressed with Shelton’s skillset and think he will be a very valuable addition to a team that needs help stopping the run while adding an above-average pass rushing skill that will stop a quarterback from stepping up into the pocket because of his presence.
Pro Comparison and Draft Projection
Pro Comparison: Casey Hampton. This was a very difficult comparison. Shelton’s run-stuffing ability reminded me of Casey Hampton (6’1″ 325 lbs), but Shelton’s lateral quickness separates him from your prototypical nose tackle especially with his pursuit skills to come back to ballcarriers up the field. Some are saying Haloti Ngata, but the speed isn’t there nor is the complete versatility of Vince Wilfork to make that comparison either.
Projected Round: Early First Round