It's no secret that size is atop the Reggie McKenzie wish-list in seemingly every area of the game. A lineman himself, McKenzie seems set on improving the Raiders amidst the trenches (minus letting Antonio Smith go, of course).
Which leads us to Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton.
If there's one word to describe Shelton, "big" is a pretty good one. (Consider that Shelton outweighs Terrence "Potroast" Knighton by 5-10 pounds depending on who you trust).
So is Shelton in play for the Raiders with their first pick?
To be clear, everyone understands that Shelton is at best the second-best defensive lineman in this draft (I have him lower than that, for the record). If given the choice between Leonard Williams and Danny Shelton, there's not a soul alive that's taking Shelton — and that's including the Oakland front office (regardless of your take on their intelligence).
Of course, some believe Williams will be off the board by the time Oakland picks, and if they're looking to go defense, their selection will come down to Shelton and a number of impressive DE/OLB hybrid pass rushers.
Unfortunately for Shelton, what he has in size has failed to translate into production. On first glance, nine sacks is remarkable for a defensive tackle. On second glance, however, you must realize that seven of the nine came against Hawaii (2), Eastern Washington (4) and Georgia State (1).
In his nine Pac-12 games and the Huskies' bowl game against Oklahoma State, Shelton logged just 2 total sacks (1 against Arizona and .5 against Oregon and Washington State). To make matters worse, Shelton averaged over 12 tackles a game against Hawaii, Eastern Washington and Georgia State, but averaged just five per game against the other 11 opponents.
Five tackles per game isn't bad for a defensive tackle, but I'd rather not spend my top pick on a guy who has built his resume against lesser competition.
At 6'2" and 339 lbs, Danny Shelton is a monster of a man and he is widely regarded as the best defensive tackle in the 2015 NFL Draft after Leonard Williams.
This last season, Shelton recorded 93 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 9 sacks and he led the nation in fumble recoveries with five. Those are ridiculous numbers for a nose tackle. After drafting Justin Ellis last season and adding Dan Williams in free agency, however, the Raiders already have two quality defensive tackles.
Shelton would also be a reach at number four overall, and so if the Raiders wanted him, they would likely trade back. While Shelton projects to be a quality player, the Raiders should focus on either wide receiver or defensive end in the first round.
I really like him as a prospect but fourth is way too early for him.
Shelton has a similar body type and skill-set to Dan Williams, making him totally superfluous to the Raiders. He is built like an absolute truck and is nearly impossible to move out of the middle, making him an ideal run-stuffer. In addition, he has quick feet and a frame reminiscent of Aaron Donald, but doesn't have Donald's athleticism or nose for the sack.
This one is pretty short for me. Dude is 6-2, 343 pounds. He is pure nose tackle. The Raiders have two of them in Dan Williams and Justin Ellis, both capable of starting. They do not need a third.
Marcus Allen Krause
If Leonard Williams and Amari Cooper are both gone (they won't be), then I might actually consider drafting Danny Shelton. The guy had 93 tackles as a nose tackle for goodness sake, you have to at least consider him!
The flexibility and strength he shows is impressive, and his tenacity jumps off the film. The new hole of losing the depth of Antonio Smith and the potential of a franchise Nose Tackle player makes him very worthy of considering him for the 4th over pick. You just don't see that size, strength and flexibility combination often.
However, Leonard Williams and Amari Cooper would still deserve to be picked ahead of him and if those guys were gone then one of Mariota or Winston would still be available. Either one would command a king's ransom so a trade would have to happen in that case, leaving Shelton a very real option later as well.
I would take Danny Shelton in this draft and leave smiling, he is going to be a solid NFL nose tackle. He is a powerful addition to the defensive line and would be a major piece in the Raiders rebuild. There are options ahead of him I would prefer, but I would be fine with him as the pick anyway. If the other options are gone then I would especially like Danny Shelton to the Raiders, he is the type of player the Raiders still need on their D-Line.