As the 2015 NFL Draft nears, ClevelandBrowns.com is ramping up its coverage to ensure fans know everything about the team's potential picks.
The Browns have two of them in the first round, of course, so there's plenty of turf to cover.
"Browns draft radar" will give you a glimpse at the nearly two dozen names being mentioned in the same breath as the Cleveland Browns. Today, we dive into the player who has been linked most to the Browns at No. 12, Washington's Danny Shelton.
Vitals: 6-2, 339 pounds
Who's linking him to Cleveland?
Why the Browns would be interested: The statistic has been repeated ad nauseum since the 2014 season, but we'll do it one more time. The Browns ranked last in the NFL in rush defense with an average of 141.6 allowed per game. On three occasions, Cleveland surrendered more than 200 yards in a single game. In a recent interview on Cleveland Browns Daily, defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil vowed the Browns would earn the right to rush the passer by improving their run defense. A big step in the right direction would start with shoring up the middle of the defensive line, and Shelton fits the bill as one of the draft's best run-stopping defensive tackles. The massive nose guard was not only at the center of the Huskies' tough run defense, but also piled up unusually big numbers for a nose guard (16.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks). Behind USC's Leonard Williams, Shelton is considered one of the best interior defensive linemen in the 2015 class.
Why he could be around at 12 or 19: The buzz surrounding Shelton reached a fever pitch in late January after his performance at the Senior Bowl. He was clearly the game's top prospect and impressed in a variety of areas. As the process dragged along, though, Shelton saw himself poked, prodded and analyzed to the Nth degree, and now he's settled in as a likely selection in the 10-20 range. The one team many considered a great fit for Shelton, Chicago, is now being projected by many to be in the market for a wide receiver now that Brandon Marshall is with the New York Jets. The other teams directly in front of the Browns -- Atlanta, New York Giants, St. Louis and Minnesota -- don't appear to be in the market for a player like Shelton.
Why he won't be around at 12 or 19: Very few, if any, mock drafts are projecting Shelton to be around at No. 19. He might just not be around at 12, either, if the Bears pull the trigger and ultimately look to address wide receiver in the later rounds, where there are plenty of intriguing options. Players as big as Shelton who can also move with quickness are hard to find, and Shelton may simply be too much of an alluring prospect for a defensive-minded coach like John Fox to pass up.
Stat to know: The Browns allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards on four occasions in 2014. They went 3-1 in those games, losing the one to Indianapolis by a single point.
Quote to note: "I've always been this big, even in high school. I loved playing offense, actually in high school. I was kind of that bully, being able to do double-teams and then being on defense, facing double-teams. It's natural for me." - Shelton
The last time: … Cleveland drafted a player from the University of Washington was 2001 (Jeremiah Pharms).