Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton idolizes and tries to emulate former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
Now, Shelton has joined Ngata in the NFL after being drafted 12th overall by the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.
Shelton has a massive, stout frame at 6 feet 2, 343 pounds, Samoan roots and is extremely athletic for his size. Shelton bench pressed 225 pounds 34 times. He has good short-area quickness, but ran the 40-yard dash in 5.64 seconds.
Shelton is the new square-built anchor in the middle of the Browns' defense. The Browns should be difficult to run against with Shelton taking on blockers.
Shelton visited the Browns prior to the NFL draft, according to a league source.
"Obviously the size," Shelton said of being compared to Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, during the NFL scouting combine. "I take real pride with what I was blessed in, my big legs. Growing up I've always watched other Polynesians play. 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."
Shelton had 89 tackles and 9.5 sacks last season.
An academic All-American, Shelton is also highly regarded for his character and perseverance. He overcame tragedy that struck his family when two older brothers were shot to death when he was a high school senior.
Shelton is a versatile player with uncommon lower body strength who can play along the defensive line as a classic nose tackle, defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end.
Shelton threw the shot put and won the state championship and also wrestled in high school, a background that comes in handy as far as leverage. He plays the game with a lot of energy.