Falcons: Tyler Shelvin could help keep the second level of defense free

axa20191012377 florida at lsu

The Falcons don’t have an enforcer on defense, one that opposing offenses fear. Sure, Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones are dynamic athletes at their respective positions, but neither has a mean streak that strikes fear into offenses. Tyler Shelvin can help with that. He is a prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 defense but could still play a traditional one-technique in a 4-3; I know I’m a broken record, but versatility is important in Dean Pees’ system.

Strengths

First, to address the elephant in the room, literally, Shelvin is a massive human being. The guy is the size of a smart car, standing at 6’3” and 365 pounds. He is as straight forward of an evaluation as anyone in this draft. The former Tiger is an interior lineman who excels in defending against the run but doesn’t necessarily offer the same on passing downs — outside of pushing the pocket.

Most people would tell you to never drop to a knee as a defensive lineman, but they’d be wrong. Utilizing it in a similar situation as Shelvin did here can be more effective in holding your ground against double teams. He is so great with his hands for a man of his size, and his pursuit is surprising for a 350+ pound man, both of which help Shelvin excel against the run but don’t totally discount the big man’s agility.

Above is an example of a nice club, rip and recover against future Falcons center Landon Dickerson. You just literally can’t expect to assign one offensive lineman to block him, but sometimes even two isn’t enough. He plays a position that gets little attention and requires unselfish play for the defense to work, but he loves taking up blocks for the second and third levels to flow to the ball.

Weaknesses

Just as I said before, Shelvin isn’t going to have an immediate impact rushing the passer outside of pushing the pocket — which is extremely important against quarterbacks like Tom Brady who want to step up in the pocket. It is very cut and dry; the team who drafts the 2019 National Champion will be doing so with the intentions of using him to play as an early-down run defender — similar to Snacks Harrison or BJ Raji.

Team Fit

Shelvin would fit seamlessly in Dean Pees’ defense. He embraces taking on blocks, eating up space, and absorbing double teams, all of which could keep the Falcons’ ultra-athletic second-level clean. The entire point of drafting a block of concrete like Shelvin would be to keep Deion Jones, Foyesade Oluokon, and Mykal Walker free to flow sideline-to-sideline. But it doesn’t only benefit the second-level; his presence would also allow for Grady Jarrett to get more one-on-ones — of which he wins at an alarming rate. The best part of Shelvin is that he could be taken anywhere in the second or third rounds, which is good value for a team in need of a plug-and-play run-stuffer.

Photo:  John Korduner/Icon Sportswire

 

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