BEREA—Mike Pettine feels top pick Danny Shelton and third-round pick Xavier Cooper are right where he thought they'd be after a week of training camp, although they are experiencing the normal learning curve for rookies.
"I think they are having some of it," Pettine said Tuesday. "It is just typical stuff. I think they are both where we thought they would be. It is just getting used to the speed of the game and having to process quickly the terminology and all those things.
"The physical part of it going against guys that are NFL sized and NFL caliber players," he said. "That is a big part of it. They are both where we thought they would be or a little bit ahead."
Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby is excited to play behind Shelton.
"The role he plays is huge," Dansby said. "That's a big man. Hopefully, it will free me (and the other inside linebackers) up."
Defensive line coach Anthony Weaver likes what he sees so far of Shelton and Cooper.
"(Shelton's) doing a heck of a job, but he's a rookie so he makes rookie mistakes," Weaver said. "He still has to learn all the defenses and all of those things, but for a rookie at the point he's at now, I think he's doing a tremendous job."
Shelton is going up against Pro Bowl center Alex Mack on a day-to-day basis and has been doing very well from observations at practice. Weaver said competing against Mack is very helpful for him in his development.
"It's huge," Weaver said. "Obviously, the quality of competition against our offensive line, you're not going to find anything better. Just the sheer experience, there's no replacement for it.
"You can go in there, you can sit on the board, you can talk about it, you can watch film, but until you actually do it, you don’t know how he's going to react,” he said. "To his credit, he's done very well, whether it's with the ones, twos, whoever he's gone against, he's played very well."
Weaver was asked if he's surprised Shelton is doing so well and making plays this early in practice.
"It's not eye opening because it is the same thing that I saw he did in college," Weaver said. "So for me, and him being a first-round pick, I think it's expected. He has high expectation for himself. I have high expectation for him. Those to me are plays I expect him to make."
On Cooper, Weaver said.
"X has done a great job," Weaver said. “He continues to have tremendous get off, off the football. He's doing a great job with his hands and getting off blocks and making plays. The thing about him is he's a football junkie.
"For instance, I was eating a snack with him the other night at 9 o'clock and almost everybody was going home," Weaver said. "I went home. He told me he was going home. (Defensive coordinator) Jimmy O'Neil walked by the meeting room around 9:30 p.m. and he was in there watching film. That's just the type of guy he is. He will undoubtedly be successful in this league."