With free agency almost here, the Patriots made a decision to strengthen their front seven with the acquisition of defensive tackle Danny Shelton from the Browns. He was a contributor to their elite run defense in 2017 and graded as a top-20 interior defender against the run according to Pro Football Focus.
The Pats should be all set at the defensive tackle position. With Shelton's deal, the Browns have released all of their seven first-round draft picks from 2012-15. The deal is pending Shelton passing a physical.
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Shelton has excelled against the run throughout his career.
The best part for the Patriots is that Shelton is still under his rookie contract for another year. At 6-foot-2, 335 pounds, he ran a 5.64-second 40-yard dash, 7.99-second 3-cone, 4.65-second short shuttle, 30.5-inch vertical leap and 7-foot, 11-inch broad jump with 34 bench press reps at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. With some needs still on the team, getting a quality player like Shelton for so cheap is good.
Shelton was a first rounder in 2015, so the Patriots will give him essentially a one-year audition and it's unlikely they will pick up his fifth year option as a former first rounder. Additionally, Shelton has started in all but two of the games in which he has appeared. This trade looks to be the same on paper.
New England has been desperate for help on the defensive line, and the addition of the big-bodied Shelton.