First round draft pick Danny Shelton is ready to get the pads on and get to work.
The Browns opened training camp on Thursday morning in shorts and helmets, which they will repeat on Friday. Shelton’s face lit up when asked about Saturday, when the team puts the full accompaniment of pads on and he gets the opportunity to show what he can do at the NFL level.
“That’s what all of us are waiting for,” said Shelton. “That’s when we can really play our game.”
Shelton’s game is about being a force on the interior line, helping the Browns finally be able to stop the running game. Last season the Browns were dead last in the league against the run, surrendering an average of 141 yards per game. You have to go back to 2011 to find a Browns defense that was top ten in the league against the run.
The Browns are hoping the additions of Shelton and DL Xavier Cooper (3rd round pick) along with the addition of veteran DL Randy Starks and a healthy Phil Taylor will help the team stuff the run.
Shelton missed some of the off-season team activities in order to finish up classes at Washington, but doesn’t believe he is any less prepared coming into his first NFL training camp. Like most rookies, Shelton spent some time (and money) taking care of his family before heading to Cleveland for camp. Shelton bought his family a six-bedroom house in Washington, complete with new appliances and furniture, which is something he never had growing up.
As for himself, Shelton said he hasn’t really splurged on anything.
Danny’s personal goals are to first secure a job, which he knows won’t be handed to him. More than just winning a roster spot, Shelton means he needs to secure a role on this defense, and given his draft status, anything less than a starting role would have to be a disappointment.
Beyond that, he wants what every player dreams about coming into the league— team success, a Pro-Bowl selection, and to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. “You set the bar really high,” said Shelton. “You don’t stop until you get there.”
On the field Thursday, Shelton spent the day rotating between nose tackle and a three-technique defensive end. He spent time with both the second and third team. “It’s alright. I’m a rookie. I have to earn my job.”
Shelton was the first player on the practice field Monday. It wasn’t a statement on his part though. He was just excited and got dressed quicker than usual. The practice ended after just two hours, which was about a half hour shorter than expected. Despite the heat and his size, Shelton was still ready to go after practice, claiming practices at Washington preparing every week for the no-huddle, up-tempo offenses of the PAC-12 were just as demanding.