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Browns first-rounder Shelton grew from past travails

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The Sports Xchange

BEREA, Ohio — Four years ago on May 1, 2011, the brother of Cleveland Browns first-round pick Danny Shelton, Shennon Shelton, was shot to death in a neighborhood argument in the Seattle suburb of Auburn, Wash.

Danny Shelton was 17 at the time. Shelton considered dropping out of football, but he changed his mind after receiving guidance from his coaches.

“Honestly, I owe it all to the coaching staff, I owe it all to the team and I owe it all to the (Huskies) fans,” Shelton said after being drafted. “It’s amazing how much they supported me throughout my four years.

“I didn’t have any doubt in myself. I knew that I was at home, I was in a better place and I was just ready to play. That’s what shaped me throughout the four years. Facing adversity, it prepared me for the next level. I feel confident to go into the league and play the right way and play the way that I play.”

Shelton played in all 13 games as a freshman at Washington and then started every game the final three years of his college career.

–Shelton is the only player in the United States this year to be a first-team All-America in football and first-team Academic All-America.

–The Browns’ offensive line is stacked with high-end draft choices. Left tackle Joe Thomas was taken third overall in 2007, left guard Joel Bitonio 35th in 2014, center Alex Mack 21st in 2009 and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz 37th in 2012. Rookie Cameron Erving, taken 19th in 2015, could start at right guard as a rookie.

–General manager Ray Farmer finally drafted a wideout when he selected Vince Mayle of Washington State on Saturday with the 123rd overall pick and the 24th pick of the fourth round. Thirty-three wide receivers were drafted last year, none by the Browns. Sixteen were picked this year before Farmer picked Mayle with his seventh pick.

–The Browns started the draft with 10 picks and after trades totaled 12 picks. It is the most for the Browns since taking 13 in 2000. They took seven defensive and five offensive players.

— The Browns drafted seven players from the Pac-12. Three were among their first five picks — Shelton from Washington, linebacker Nate Orchard from Utah and defensive tackle Xavier Cooper from Washington State.

–Rumors flew before the draft about the Browns trading picks 12 and 19 plus a first-round choice in 2016 to Tennessee for the second pick to select Marcus Mariota. Another rumor had them trading for Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford.

In the end, the Browns used none of their 12 picks on a quarterback, and decided to go with the quarterbacks already on the roster: Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw and Thaddeus Lewis.

A closer look at the Browns’ picks:

–Round 1/12 – Danny Shelton, NT, 6-3, 339, Washington

The Browns passed on drafting a pass rusher and a wide receiver to get help for their anemic run defense. Shelton was durable in college; he played in 52 straight games at Washington over four seasons. The Browns are looking at him as a three-down player, but his biggest value is as a run defender alongside Phil Taylor and Armonty Bryant.

–Round 1/19 – Cameron Erving, G, 6-5, 313, Florida State

Erving can play anywhere along the line. He was a left tackle until the final five games of his career at Florida State when he moved seamlessly to center. He will challenge John Greco at right guard in 2015 and could move to center next year if Alex Mack opts out of his contract and leaves.

–Round 2/51 – Nate Orchard, OLB, 6-3, 250, Utah

Orchard played end in college but will be an outside linebacker in the Browns’ 3-4 defense. He had 3.5 sacks in 2013 and 18.5 last season. The Browns need to improve their pass rush because Jabaal Sheard left in free agency to sign with New England and Barkevious Mingo is coming off shoulder surgery.

–Round 3/77 – Duke Johnson, RB, 5-9, 207, Miami

Johnson is the Hurricanes’ all-time rushing leader with 3,519 yards on 526 carries. The Browns look at him as a change-of-pace back for third down and want to get him the ball in space. He gives the Browns solid depth behind second-year backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West.

–Round 3/96 – Xavier Cooper, DT, 6-3, 293, Washington State

Cooper could be the sleeper of the Browns’ draft. General manager Ray Farmer says Cooper has “a high motor.” Cooper will be part of a rotation inside. He has quickness and could be used in some pass rush situations.

–Round 4/115 – Ibraheim Campbell, S, 5-11, 208, Northwestern

Campbell’s main role will be on special teams and backing up strong safety Donte Whitner. He is regarded as better at defending the run than the pass. He missed four games in 2014 with a torn hamstring.

–Round 4/123 – Vince Mayle, WR, 6-2, 224, Washington State

Mayle has good speed and size, but a reputation of inconsistent hands caused him to not be taken until the third day of the draft. He is good on deep routes. He caught 106 passes in his final year at Washington State, but is still relatively inexperienced.

–Round 6/189 – Charles Gaines, CB, 5-10, 180, Louisville

Gaines went to Louisville as a wide receiver and converted to cornerback in college: He projects as a nickel back and special teams player early in his career. He has questionable skills as a run defender. He has seven career interceptions.

–Round 6/195 – Malcom Johnson, FB, 6-2, 231, Mississippi State

Johnson caught 79 passes for 1,148 yards and 10 touchdowns for his career. The Browns are looking at him as a fullback first, but he also plays tight end. The Browns are looking for a starting tight end after losing Jordan Cameron to the Dolphins in free agency. He was a team captain in 2014.

–Round 6/198 – Randall Telfer, TE, 6-4, 260, USC

Telfer has an injury history that includes knee surgery and foot surgery. He is more a blocking tight end than a receiver, but he says he can be a “well-rounded” tight end. He said he learned from former Trojans and Browns tight end Jordan Cameron.

–Round 7/219 – Hayes Pullard, ILB, 6-1, 240, USC

Pullard made 377 tackles in four years at USC. The NFL.com summary says Pullard doesn’t give away cutback lanes but also says he is “not a tough guy on tape.” Browns starting inside linebacker Karlos Dansby will be 34 in November.

–Round 7/241- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, 5-9, 192, Oregon

Ekpre-Olomu suffered a torn ACL preparing for a college playoff game in January. If not for the injury he might have been a second-round pick. He can play outside or in the slot and projects as a gunner on punt coverage. His name means “something that fits you well.”


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