Danny Shelton – NT
Danny Shelton hasn’t had the career arch that the Browns expected him to have when they drafted him at No. 12 overall in the 2015 draft. After a few solid seasons of play, the nose tackle fell out of their rotation and was traded to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick. New England then declined his fifth-year option, making him a free agent.
But very few expected Shelton to be on the open market for as long as he has been. He’s a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle that stands at 6-foot-2 and 345-pounds — though his game is limited, he’s still one of the better run defenders in the NFL. Per Pro Football Focus, he’s earned a 76.0+ run-defense grade in each of the last three seasons.
His lack of tackling proficiency is noted, though. The 25-year-old also hasn’t ranked 42nd or better in tackling rate for an interior lineman once in his career, per PFF. Despite that low ranking, PFF gives him a solid 81.8 three-year-grade.
Shelton would fill a need for the Cardinals as Corey Peters‘ backup nose tackle or his eventual successor. He won’t offer much in terms of pass-rushing, but he does his job well as a run-stuffing, block shedding lineman. Both traits are necessary for a 3-4 nose tackle.
Considering that the Cardinals ranked last in rushing yards per game allowed, rushing touchdowns allowed, and rushing first-downs allowed in 2018, Shelton may be worth the look. He’s just 25 years old and has shown that he can plug the run well; that should be enough to warrant interest from Steve Keim and Co.