Between his massive frame, Samoan roots and rare athleticism for his size, University of Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton has naturally drawn comparisons to Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata.
Shelton is a square-built, stout anchor at the line of scrimmage. But like Ngata, the muscular 6-foot-2, 343-pound Huskies standout covers a lot of ground and is impressive in pursuit at tracking down the football.
"Obviously the size," Shelton said of being compared to Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl selection. " 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 previously met with the Ravens at the Senior Bowl and has a formal meeting with them at the NFL scouting combine this week.
"I've already met with the Ravens here," Shelton said. "They're a great group."
Shelton, who had 89 tackles and 9.5 sacks last season, is an intriguing draft prospect who's regarded as unlikely to be available for the Ravens' 26th overall pick of the first round. Nonetheless, he's a good draft prospect worth exploring.
An academic All-American, Shlelton 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, and he plays the game with a lot of energy.
"I committed to my teammates at the University of Washington that I'd be that guy to bring energy," Shelton said. "I felt that it really helped me with production this past season."
Shelton also met with the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. He was rarely blocked by one man in college, frequently drawing double-team blocking awttention.
"I'm going to do my best to shed 'em right away," Shelton said. "If it embarrasses him, it's my fault. I'm going to try to keep doing my job and produce.
"I've always been this big, even in high school. I loved playing offense, actually in high school. I was kind of that bully. It's natural for me."