BEREA, Ohio--Christian Kirksey smiled when he said he's told Danny Shelton he'll take him to dinner if he takes up two defenders in front of him. Kirksey knows that if Shelton can force a double team, his job as an inside linebacker, along with Demario Davis, will get much easier.
"(Shelton's) energy and what he brings to the field is ridiculous," Kirksey said Monday. "He's a bigger guy who can clog up the middle, but at the same time, he's fast on his feet. We have a guy with both of those attributes. It's crazy,"
Kirksey is entering his third season with the Browns and he's the favorite to start opposite of Davis at inside linebacker with the departure of Karlos Dansby and Craig Robertson in the off season.
Kirksey played in all 16 games last season and had 53 tackles and 3.5 sacks in five starts.
Meanwhile, Shelton shed over 30 pounds to get ready for this season and the Browns are hoping he can become a three down player on defense at nose tackle. Shelton is listed at 6-2, 335 pounds, but he admitted he played at 365 toward the end of last season. He started 15 of 16 games in 2015 after the Browns drafted him 12th overall. Shelton finished the season with 36 tackles, including a season-high seven against the Seahawks on Dec. 20.
Kirksey said he looks for Shelton to take a big jump from his rookie season to year two.
"(Shelton's) a character, too and he's always getting everybody hyped, so I'm just looking forward to year two for him."