The Browns are attempting to make 2015 first-round pick Danny Shelton more versatile -- and that means dropping roughly 30 pounds.
"He can do so many more things at the weight he's at right now and the condition he's in," defensive line coach Robert Nunn told Cleveland.com. "So he's got to keep that and time will tell. He's the one that controls that. I can help him only so much and the strength coaches can only help him so much and Coach (Hue) Jackson can only help him so much. I think he sees the difference of where he was and where he can be."
Shelton came into the draft at about 340 pounds but, according to Cleveland.com, finished the season in the 365 range. He was not used frequently in the passing game despite his ability in college as a destructive interior presence. Cleveland is hoping to avoid the traditional 3-4 nose path for Shelton, which would eliminate a potentially great player from about two-thirds of the team's defensive snaps.
Watching Shelton at the senior bowl back in 2015, there was not a more athletic player pound for pound on the field. Despite his size, Shelton was keeping up with most of the hyper-speed Pac-12 offenses that he saw in college, but was far more dominant against traditional power teams.
Hue Jackson's reign in Cleveland can't just be about drafting good players for the future. The Browns had four first-round draft picks (three after Johnny Manziel disappeared) in the two years prior to Jackson's arrival, including Shelton and cornerback Justin Gilbert. Much of his success will be based on turning them around as well.
Asking Shelton to lose some weight seems like common sense, though it was not addressed in a significant way during his rookie season. The new regime is priding themselves on a streamlined, simplistic approach and that goes for its players as well.