In today's NFL, defensive lineman need to have the stamina to keep up with up-tempo NFL offenses. In the Pac-12, Washington's Danny Shelton proved he could.
Danny Shelton isn't your typical 340-plus pounder coming out of college.
Check out these photos of Danny Shelton, an instinctual and disruptive defensive tackle from the University of Washington.
In four seasons at the University of Washington, Shelton recorded 111 tackles and 9.5 sacks all while keeping up with some of the quickest offenses in college football, like Oregon and Arizona. "The Pac-12 Conference, there's nine out of 12 teams running up-tempo," he said at the NFL Combine. "It's a demand for our defense to be able to compete and be able to stay out on the field. So I challenge myself every day to practice running to the ball, stripping the ball, working on turnovers. It's just a mindset we have at the University of Washington to be prepared."
Shelton's dominance didn't end at Washington's bowl game against Oklahoma State, though, as he went on to be one of the top performers at the Senior Bowl.
While other prospects may have skipped out on playing in the game and showcasing their talents in drills during the week, in fear it may impact their draft stock negatively, Shelton wanted to get work in against different types of offensive linemen.
"For me I wanted to be able to compete against some of the best," he said of participating in the Senior Bowl. "I got to compete against some of the bigger offensive linemen compared to the Pac-12. I feel like I did a good job showing I'm still that dominant guy and being able to take up the double teams and shed guys."
Shelton has been compared to several other large interior defensive linemen, most notably Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots and Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens.
"Growing up I've always watched other Polynesians play," he said. "Troy Polamalu is probably my biggest inspiration. I've always wanted to play safety. I got attracted to Haloti's style. A dominant player, him being Tongan and me being Samoan, I felt like I could be just like him. I challenged his weight room numbers when I was in college and didn't get near it, but he's definitely a role model for me."
Here's a look at the University of Washington's 2015 Pro Day that took place in Seattle.
And as far as different coverage schemes and where he can see himself thriving most, Shelton said he's "played it all" and will do whatever it takes to succeed in the packages he's inserted to.
"I've played 5-tech, 4-I, 3-tech and 1-tech," he said. "Our defense back at Washington, we jumped back and forth from a 4-3 and a 3-4. I played 2-I during the season, primarily an A-gap defender."
He also doesn't mind being in a straight up battle with an offensive lineman.
"When I'm in a zero I sometimes shade into a one," he said. "It's just a better opportunity to go one-on-one and dominate the center."