Shelton doesn't look, act like a rookie

Going into his first NFL regular season game, Browns rookie Danny Shelton doesn't seem to be nervous. Rather, he's rearing and ready to go.

BEREA-- Imagine you walked into the Browns locker room, with no prior knowledge of who is roaming around the premises.

Your primary task was to observe these nameless faces and determine how long they've played in the National Football League, based on no factor other than they way in which they handle themselves. 

As you watch a massive Samoan man with long, blonde-tipped locks talk to his coaches and teammates, you'd have to estimate how long he's been around. 

According to Browns head coach Mike Pettine, no matter how you might perceive Shelton, you'd more than likely be wrong in your estimate. 

"He wouldn't be a guy that you'd identify early on," Pettine said, outlining the aforementioned, hypothetical scenario. "Although he, at times, can be very immature, for the most part, handles himself very professionally, gets his work done."

While Pettine did say that Shelton can show his immaturity at times, he later continued his praise of the rookie by comparing him to a player 14 years his elder. 

"Very similar to Josh (McCown), has that type of personality too," Pettine said of Shelton. "You can tell he loves to play and loves being out there with his teammates and that has an effect on everybody else."

Shelton demonstrated that maturity when asked about his first NFL test on Sunday against the New York Jets. 

Rather than to feel that the moment will be a big one, Shelton said that it'll take just one play for him to get comfortable in the bright lights of MetLife Stadium. 

"Really just getting the jitters out. Getting out pre-game and warming up and then first play, getting it out of the way," Shelton said. "Just letting it ride the rest of the game."

Maybe that maturity stems from his ability to learn from those who have come before him, as he seems to have taken advice from his elders in his preparation.

"I'm not expecting it to be faster. I felt like preseason was a pretty similar look," Shelton said of his first regular-season start. "I mean, going off of what the vets have been saying, as far as just doing your assignment and playing ball. That's what I've been doing. Preseason wasn't too bad. I'm just excited to get out there for the regular season opener."

Though Shelton seems undaunted by the task that faces him, there's a very real chance that he could struggle in his first game. 

The Jets will have one of the best lined up against Shelton on most, if not all, of their offensive plays, in six-time Pro-Bowl selection, Nick Mangold. 

Pettine understands what Shelton will face, literally, on Sunday afternoon, as he was a part of the Jets coaching staff with Mangold making his way to the top. 

"It's going to be a good one," Pettine said of the matchup. "Nick is a very intelligent, veteran player. He knows a lot of tricks of the trade and that's why it'll be  a real good test for Danny."

With the test looming, it's yet to be seen whether or not Shelton will pass his first NFL exam against Mangold.

If grades were based on demeanor thus far, Shelton shouldn't have much of a problem. 

Follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.


The OBR Top Stories