The 6-foot-2, 339-pound nose tackle out of Washington has arguably been the team's finest defender in camp, drawing rave reviews from all corners as a wide-bodied, run-stuffing terror.
Shelton's play inspired Bills coach Rex Ryan to seek out the rookie and tell him, per Kevin Jones of the Browns' official website: "I watched the film, and man, I love the way you hustle!"
When we attended Browns practice last week, Shelton stood out as an eye-popping visual presence. His lower body is insane, with calves the size of tree trunks and a compact, powerful frame that seems like it would prohibit the rookie from quick movement. Instead, his burst off the line and high motor serve as the most hopeful story coming out of Cleveland's camp.
Shelton's speed wowed coaches and teammates during an intrasquad scrimmage in Columbus, where the behemoth burned across the field to chase down wideout Marlon Moore.
Labeled by some before the draft as a two-down thumper, Shelton looks like an every-snap terror for a defense that used this offseason to fix a defense that finished last in the NFL against the run in 2014.
Shelton is a sight for sore eyes in Cleveland, where the Browns have ranked no higher than 18th against the run since returning to the NFL in 1999. Everybody talks about the decades-long quarterback void, but shoddy run-stoppage has been a quiet cancer from the start. Consider that Cleveland has finished 27th or worse in that category in 13 of the past 16 seasons.
"I have to be different from the norm," Shelton told The AP. "I challenge myself to come out every day with positive energy. If I have to fake it or bring it up and just get everybody hyped up, I have to do that. My teammates know what type of guy I am. I have to continue to be on that same track."
In the Redskins game, the rookie showed off his power on a Washington run up the middle that found Shelton matched up with veteran center Kory Lichtensteiger. Shelton threw off Lichtensteiger in time to cut down running back Alfred Morris for a short pickup. Calling the game for the Browns, NFL Media's Solomon Wilcots said: "It's not going to happen on Danny Shelton's watch."
Reviewing all of his 16 snaps against the Redskins, I see a player who regularly pushes blockers backward, using his wide base to hold his ground. He's powerful enough to neutralize linemen and quick enough to pivot and dive at ball-carriers. In the second clip below (at the :31 mark), watch Shelton detach from a blocker to pounce at the feet of Robert Griffin III. It's no coincidence that Dansby is free to shut down the quarterback with Shelton controlling the line.
"He is obviously a big boy who can move and having that presence there pushing the pocket," said Kruger, per ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi. "In that way, he is really comparable to Haloti Ngata and some of the other guys who have really made a name for themselves pushing the pocket like that. I think he has that ability."