Scouting Report: Tyler Shelvin Could Be Missing Puzzle Piece for Patriots' Run Defense

The big-bodied LSU defender projects well to the nose tackle spot in New England's defense.
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Measurables:

Height: 6-foot-3 (1.778m)

Weight: 346 lbs (157kg)

Age: 22

Strengths:

- Strong, stout anchor of a man that is hard to move. Plugs the middle and makes things easier on the linebackers. Someone who will thrive and be an absolute force in goal-to-go situations, along with general short yardage, run-likely scenarios. He can re-establish where the line of scrimmage is located. 

- Shelvin is quick to engage with his blockers for a big nose tackle, getting out of his stance and getting his hands on them. He can sometimes win reps just by being the first to engage. 

- Shows almost teach tape on how to properly two-gap in football. Moves his defender aside and manipulates him so he can both peak in the backfield, and then shoot to either side and make the tackle. 

- Extends his arms well and is able to utilize his excessive power, strength, and force to get his way versus blockers. 

- Frequently would demand double-teams in the run game due to his disruptiveness up the middle. He showed that he could be a liability to teams trying to attack the LSU defense between the tackles. 

- Shelvin appears to play like each play is one of his last. Great effort to run down blockers, and displays a good amount of quickness and nimbleness for 345 lbs. 

Weaknesses:

- Likely only has two-down value, especially early on in career, as Shelvin's pass-rushing ability is underdeveloped.

- Opted out this season with a big reason being Shelvin showing up to the LSU facilities at 370 lbs. That would make him too big to really play or provide anything besides just eating up space. 370 lbs would make him one of the heaviest defensive tackles in NFL history. 

- While on the topic of size, Shelvin will likely be pigeonholed into the nose tackle spot and nothing more. Providing little versatility on the defensive line and likely specializing in certain duties that he can excel at. Shelvin would unlikely move around the formation much. 

- Shelvin can struggle on zone steps at times by offensive lineman. He needs to be more effective at moving laterally and then using his power to get through his blockers. Especially with many zone running schemes in the NFL. 

Summary and Archetype:

A prototypical nose tackle at the next level, Shelvin is designed to eat up space in the run game and take on two gaps against his blockers. As mentioned before, Shelvin's technique when two-gapping is phenomenal, which will be a very valuable trait at the next level. Here is an example here: 

Shelvin will come with some question marks, as his pass-rushing skill set is almost non-existent. A 345 lb nose tackle who isn't a penetrator on the line is obviously going to struggle to put pressure on the quarterback, which is what takes him off the field in obvious pass situations. This is what makes him a likely two-down player, leaving his draft stock more around the third and fourth rounds. Teams will struggle justifying spending a first or second round pick on a player that can only play two downs, even despite him being the rather undisputed best run defending defensive lineman in this class. 

However, teams that draft Shelvin will have to acknowledge that they are not drafting him for his pass-rushing ability, and if they want a defensive tackle that can rush the passer, they should look elsewhere. Shelvin fits on a team that is looking to put a big body in the middle of their defense, looking to stop the run as much as they can, and make things easier on the second level of the defense. 

Fit with the Patriots:

After getting gashed on the ground this past season, losing Danny Shelton, and pretty much going a season without a prototypical nose tackle, New England looks destined to draft a big man to eat up space up front. While Beau Allen will now likely be making his first appearance next season with the Patriots after sitting out all of last season, his deal only extends one more season and it's unclear whether he is the answer at that spot moving forward.

Having a rotation of Allen and Shelvin in 2021 would be a perfect plan moving forward, as Shelvin will likely need some time to develop and become a more well-rounded player before seeing meaningful NFL snaps. Having Allen in the last year of his two-year deal and having Shelvin take a year to get his bearings in the league would provide a lot of flexibility at that position that was most certainly lacking last year. 

With New England being one of the only remaining teams to still highly value the nose tackle spot and keep it as a key piece to stopping the run, Shelvin would be in no better place to succeed. As someone who has even reminded some of former Patriots' great, Vince Wilfork, Shelvin would be on the team that would value him and know how to use him effectively better than anyone. 

His size up front and his ability in the run game would provide huge pluses to the defense moving forward in his year two, and he could eventually develop into their everyday starting nose tackle for several years to come.