The former No. 12 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Shelton becomes the fifth player New York has either signed or re-signed this offseason that was previously selected within the top top-64 overall picks of their respective draft classes.
He also becomes the second former University of Washington first-round pick to join the Giants this offseason. Shelton will now reunite with his once-college roommate, wide receiver John Ross — who was clearly fond of Shelton’s arrival in East Rutherford.
— Rohn Joss (@WatchJRoss) March 29, 2021
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Is Shelton the Answer to Replacing Dalvin Tomlinson?
Not completely, but he’ll certainly be part of a rotation that does their best to help fill the void left behind by the former Giants mainstay. With Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence entrenched as starters, Shelton will vie for playing time alongside the likes of Austin Johnson and B.J. Hill — potentially even staking claim to the starting nose tackle position in the midst.
At 6-foot-2-inches and 345-pounds, Shelton is first and foremost a space-eater. He’s never been much of a presence in the pass-rushing department, collecting just 5.5 sacks over his six NFL seasons. In 12 games with the Lions this past season, Shelton earned a 64.0 pass-rush grade, notching 10 pressures, one sack and three QB hits, per Pro Football Focus. In comparison, Tomlinson received a 74.6 pass-rush grade, most among all Giants defensive linemen — including Leonard Williams, who led the team with 11.5 sacks.
With that said, what Shelton lacks as a pass rusher, he makes up for with his abilities as a quality two-down run-stuffer. In 2020, Shelton logged a total of 498 snaps with the Lions, 261 of which were run-defense snaps. Yes, the 27-year-old is coming off a poor Pro Football Focus overall grade of 51.1, the second-lowest of his career. However, over the four seasons prior, Shelton had averaged a highly-respectable mark of 74.4, never once falling below 69.6.
Overall, Shelton has appeared in 87 regular-season games with 72 starts, spanning across stops with the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and aforementioned Detroit Lions. In total, he’s amassed 247 tackles (126 solo), 5.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 18 quarterback hits and one forced fumble.
Shelton Will Feel Right at Home in New York
Shelton has played in three postseason games (two starts) over his career, all with the Patriots. Shelton helped New England defeat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Of course, Giants head coach Joe Judge was the Pats’ special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach that season.
To further add to the familiarity theme, Shelton also becomes the third former Detroit Lions player to sign with the Giants this offseason, joining the likes of wide receiver Kenny Golladay and linebacker Reggie Ragland. This comes on the heels of the team hiring Kyle O’Brien, who spent the past five seasons in the Lions’ organization as senior personnel executive.
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