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Falcons' Derrick Shelby values lessons from Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake


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Falcons' Derrick Shelby values lessons from Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake

7:08 AM ET

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Staff Writer

New Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Derrick Shelby developed a reputation for his ability to defend the run during his four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 280-pound Shelby, however, believes his pass-rush skills are much better than advertised, thanks in large part to lessons learned from Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake.

"Obviously with Cam Wake, I would just pick his brain as much as I could," Shelby said. "Randy Starks was there and I picked his brain. Jared Odrick, too. And this past year even with Suh, every rep we took, I was like, 'What were you thinking here? Why did you take this path?' I think players don't do that enough. Those guys definitely helped me progress.

"After that, you have to figure out what works best for you, and then you go from there."

Shelby wasn't a 10-sack guy with the Dolphins. He did, however, show flashes of ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Last season, he started the last nine games after Wake was shelved for the season with an Achilles tear. In the final eight games, Shelby had 3.5 sacks. On one, he got the edge on Cowboys Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith rushing from right end. On another, he pushed Patriots left guard Josh Kline seven yards back, all the way into quarterback Tom Brady on an interior rush.

"I'm a thumper," Shelby said. "I'm straight power. I try to push to the quarterback and rip off and get to him that way. I'm not one of those Von Miller types."

Falcons coach Dan Quinn talked about the role he envisions for Shelby in his defense.

"Derrick Shelby has real good versatility to play defensive tackle in our nickel package, defensive end," Quinn said. "I see Derrick's role as really increasing as a pass-rusher, especially on the inside. We're going to play him both at end in our base package and tackle in our nickel package. Love his quickness for a guy who is 280 pounds. The length, I think he's just right in the middle. So, I'm looking forward to working with him, physically, as a rusher."

The Falcons sorely need to improve their pass rush after finishing last in league with 19 sacks last season. They are counting on a big second season from Vic Beasley Jr., who said he won't need surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. And the Falcons re-signed veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who is expected to rush primarily off the edge rather than the interior like he did for a large portion of the time last season.

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/19440/new-falcon-derrick-shelby-values-lessons-from-suh-wake

 

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If you think about extrapolating his 8 starts to 16, you're talking about a 7 sack guy opposite Beasley, who was drafted to be a 10-12 sack guy.  That can only help.

I'm not saying Shelby is going to have 7 sacks next season, I'm just saying if that's how it works out, this defense could be vastly improved.  And if he only gets 5?  Well, that's 2 more than Clayborn got.  And 5 more than Jackson.  I questioned why we weren't going after one of the more premier guys, but I seriously think Shelby could be one of the most important upgrades on the defensive side of the ball this season, draft included.

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1 minute ago, JDaveG said:

If you think about extrapolating his 8 starts to 16, you're talking about a 7 sack guy opposite Beasley, who was drafted to be a 10-12 sack guy.  That can only help.

I'm not saying Shelby is going to have 7 sacks next season, I'm just saying if that's how it works out, this defense could be vastly improved.  And if he only gets 5?  Well, that's 2 more than Clayborn got.  And 5 more than Jackson.  I questioned why we weren't going after one of the more premier guys, but I seriously think Shelby could be one of the most important upgrades on the defensive side of the ball this season, draft included.

this ^

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31 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

If you think about extrapolating his 8 starts to 16, you're talking about a 7 sack guy opposite Beasley, who was drafted to be a 10-12 sack guy.  That can only help.

I'm not saying Shelby is going to have 7 sacks next season, I'm just saying if that's how it works out, this defense could be vastly improved.  And if he only gets 5?  Well, that's 2 more than Clayborn got.  And 5 more than Jackson.  I questioned why we weren't going after one of the more premier guys, but I seriously think Shelby could be one of the most important upgrades on the defensive side of the ball this season, draft included.

 

Yeah, I think Shelby could end up as a 7-10 sack guy.

 

Most of his productivity will probably not be shown stay wise but he very well endup being the player that the Falcons need to apply a relentless pass rush.

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40 minutes ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

This dude is powerful.  You put him next to Hageman and then let the other guys do their thing, we might just be a lot to handle.

On passing downs, that sounds like exactly what they plan to do -- move him inside next to (presumably) Hageman or Jarrett and let them just collapse the middle.  

On run downs, he'll be at SS DE beside the 1T though.  They could move Hageman to the 1T but they've been playing him at 3T mostly.

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1 hour ago, mdrake34 said:

Hopefully he didn't pick Suh's brain too much, by week 2 of last season there were already articles that the Dolphins coaches were frustrated with Suh for freelancing. 

That had more to do with inept coaches than Suh. Suh did his thing, the rest of that line was underwhelming. 

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

On passing downs, that sounds like exactly what they plan to do -- move him inside next to (presumably) Hageman or Jarrett and let them just collapse the middle.  

On run downs, he'll be at SS DE beside the 1T though.  They could move Hageman to the 1T but they've been playing him at 3T mostly.

Lets keep our fingers crossed JDave...  NOBODY saw this move coming.  I'm not sure Miami saw this coming either.

Credit to our guys at the branch for noticing Shelby as a viable option in DQ's scheme.  This sneaky move just might pay off handsomely for our defense.  At least I am hopeful.  

If he pans out, and we pick up a nice Dlinemen in the draft, it gives us lots of options in the future...

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2 hours ago, pzummo said:

Nice article.  I love how he had 4 PD's last season.  Those come from pushing the pocket, getting in the QB's face.  That's more than our entire DL put together outside of Beasley.  

That is very encouraging. I like this signing and believe he's going to be a big contributor toward a D that has at least 30 sacks this season. And his ability against the run is also going to come in mighty handy as well.

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Why is Tyson Jackson still here? We don't need him inside at DT (Hags, Jarrett, Mbu, with Clayborn and Shelby kicking inside for passing situations). If he is only here as a run stuffing DE then he brings less value than Solai did.

 

We have to get a DT in this loaded draft. I wonder if they're just waiting til then.

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Just now, maxatlanta said:

Why is Tyson Jackson still here? We don't need him inside at DT (Hags, Jarrett, Mbu, with Clayborn and Shelby kicking inside for passing situations). If he is only here as a run stuffing DE then he brings less value than Solai did.

 

We have to get a DT in this loaded draft. I wonder if they're just waiting til then.

I wonder why Brooks Reed wasn't asked to take a paycut along with Tyson Jackson. 

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22 minutes ago, mdrake34 said:

No, that was Suh being a ******, selfish teammate and not following the game plan like the other 52 guys. 

That's not what his teammate or coaches said. And he was right. His teammates were dogs. Anyone could see it.  He had his issues but he did play well. Not that huge contract worthy but still good. 

He had 61 tackles and 11 stuffs, both the second-highest of his career.

His six sacks were below the 7.2 he averaged coming in to the season.

Suh wasn’t necessarily the game changer Miami expected but he was still ranked as the NFL’s sixth best DL according to PFF. He had Earl freaking Mitchell next to him! (97th ranked btw). 

In any case, I hope he did rub off on Shelby in a good way. I think Shelby will be a 7 sack guy and stout against the run. 

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So...trying to figure out how this is going to look (if we draft no DL):

Base:

LE Shelby NT Mbu/Jackson DT Hags/Babs/Jarret RE Beasley/Clayborn

Pass rush:

LE Clayborn DT Shelby DT Babs/Jarrett RE Beasley

Is that the way you guys see this playing out?

It seems like getting Shelby gives us a better pass rusher on the base package (over Jackson) and then lets Clayborn play DE more on passing downs instead of playing inside.

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24 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

So...trying to figure out how this is going to look (if we draft no DL):

Base:

LE Shelby NT Mbu/Jackson DT Hags/Babs/Jarret RE Beasley/Clayborn

Pass rush:

LE Clayborn DT Shelby DT Babs/Jarrett RE Beasley

Is that the way you guys see this playing out?

It seems like getting Shelby gives us a better pass rusher on the base package (over Jackson) and then lets Clayborn play DE more on passing downs instead of playing inside.

Mostly, but the base is off, IMHO.  It should be:

LE Shelby/Clayborn NT Mbu/Jackson DT Hags/Babs/Jarret RE Beasley/Schofield or someone like him

It depends on who we sign and draft, but Clayborn will back up Shelby at SDE.  He's not a LEO.  I also think they'll rotate Hageman in on the sub package, but I'm not sure where they'll line him up.  He has too much power to leave him on the bench for passing downs.  My guess is HB had it right and we'll put Hage on the right side of the line and Shelby on the left, with Claiborne at LE and Beasley at RE.

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3 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

Mostly, but the base is off, IMHO.  It should be:

LE Shelby/Clayborn NT Mbu/Jackson DT Hags/Babs/Jarret RE Beasley/Schofield or someone like him

It depends on who we sign and draft, but Clayborn will back up Shelby at SDE.  He's not a LEO.  I also think they'll rotate Hageman in on the sub package, but I'm not sure where they'll line him up.  He has too much power to leave him on the bench for passing downs.

I agree with this and its also why I want Leonard Floyd and his rush ability from SLB. That would help the 4 guys on the line whenever we do decide to send 5. 

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Just now, JDaveG said:

Mostly, but the base is off, IMHO.  It should be:

LE Shelby/Clayborn NT Mbu/Jackson DT Hags/Babs/Jarret RE Beasley/Schofield or someone like him

It depends on who we sign and draft, but Clayborn will back up Shelby at SDE.  He's not a LEO.

I actually agree with that.  It was sort of using who we currently have, in which case we might use someone with more sand in their pants to spell Beasley.

It looks like Clayborn is mostly going to rush from the end position.  I'd expect another rusher (which may be long since he wants to play wide 9 which is pretty much LEO)

Still seems like we really could use a NT who also pushes the pocket instead of just stands his ground.

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1 hour ago, Power I said:

I agree with this and its also why I want Leonard Floyd and his rush ability from SLB. That would help the 4 guys on the line whenever we do decide to send 5. 

Plus he could swap with Beasley to switch up the looks or shift fronts. 

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8 minutes ago, Knight of God said:

Meh...this dude is starting to grow on me. Liking it more and more. Maybe he was brought in to play the Shelby role.

This confused me.  "Meh" is usually discouraged, but your post sounds like you are encouraged.  Then you closed it with maybe "Shelby role".  His name is Shelby, so there's no maybe about it, whatever role he gets would by Shelby's role even if it was riding the pine.  Did you mean Bennett's role from Seattle?  

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