From a team perspective, Danny Shelton’s first 2 seasons in the NFL have not gone as well as he’d hoped.
He’d also say the same thing about his individual performance despite taking a quantum leap in year 2 this past season.
But Shelton is excited for year 3 and that’s because of new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“I can tell he’s a guy that wants wins,” Shelton told 92.3 The Fan Saturday afternoon while making an appearance at the Cleveland Auto Show at the IX Center where he signed autographs and took pictures with hundreds of Browns fans. “That’s the reason coach Hue [Jackson] brought him in and I’m excited to get to work with him and see what they have planned for us.”
The Browns’ defense ranked near the bottom in just about every statistical category in 2016 and contributed to a 1-15 season, the worst in the 67-season history of the franchise.
Williams will be Shelton’s third defensive coordinator in as many seasons with the Browns, who have won just 4 games combined over the last 2 years since Shelton was drafted.
“There is a frustrating side but at the same time it’s part of the business,” Shelton said. “It’s nothing new to me. In college I kinda faced the same thing with a new defensive staff so I’m just looking forward to moving beyond this last season.”
With the change in coordinators comes a change in scheme up front, which he expects will allow him to really showcase why the Browns drafted him 12th overall in 2015 and flourish like he did at Washington where he dominated as an All-American.
“I think it actually gives me an opportunity to open up my set of skills and branch out,” Shelton said. “I’m excited [to be able] to grow as a player.”
The expected switch to a 4-man front under Williams has Shelton champing at the bit to get back on the field.
“I think I’ll do great,” Shelton said. “It’s a great opportunity and my plan is to take advantage of it.”
Shelton is recovering from surgery on his left wrist that he had right after the season to remove loose bodies, which flared up during the 2016 season. He’s been out of the cast for 2 weeks and doesn’t expect to miss any time this offseason.
“I’m not sure when [the injury] happened but it was bugging me throughout the season and in the last Ravens game [on Nov. 10] I re-aggravated it,” Shelton said. “I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to clean it up right after the season and not have to worry about it [anymore].”
Despite the problem with his left wrist, Shelton had a strong sophomore campaign that saw him increase his tackle total from 36 to 59, which included 1.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hits and 2 tackles for loss.
“I tried not to let it bug me or be a distraction,” Shelton said. “Ultimately I was able to get the job done and live to fight another day, really.
“I’m excited I got it done now and I’m able to get back to work.”
During his appearance at the Auto Show Shelton surprised Jeff and Megan Tetlak of West Park with the keys to a brand-new 2017 BMW 320i xDrive.
“We’re shaking,” Megan Tetlak said. “We always have the worst luck. This is [amazing].”
The couple won a 3-year lease through the Browns’ ‘BMW Ultimate Prediction Challenge’ contest on the team’s mobile app this past season.
Shelton is hoping for similar luck on the field in 2017.