New England traded their 2019 third round pick to the Cleveland Browns for a 2018 fifth round pick and defensive tackle Danny Shelton. The move comes in a whirlwind 24 hours for the Browns that saw them complete four trades.
The Browns selected Shelton 12th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The former Washington Husky has not met expectations during his time in the league, with just 1.5 sacks and 71 solo tackles over the past three seasons. For comparison, Patriots DT Malcom Brown was selected with the 32nd pick of the 2015 NFL Draft and has totaled 8.5 sacks and 84 solo tackles throughout the past three seasons.
Despite Shelton’s lack of significant production, this is still a very good move for New England. He is a young player who they have under a reasonable contract for this season, and who they can keep for next season at acceptable money if he comes in and performs. He provides the Patriots with more depth and youth along their defensive line which is something they struggled mightily with in 2017. A change in scenery may also be just what Shelton needs to break out and become the player many expected him to be.
However, even at the worst, if Shelton turns out to be a bust and doesn’t even make it through camp, the Patriots didn’t pay much at all to get him. All they gave up was a third round pick next season, which they would actually get back in the form of a compensatory pick if Nate Solder chooses to leave in free agency. They also received a fifth round pick this year which is great for Bill Belichick. He places more value on third, fourth, and fifth round picks than most coaches throughout the league, and must be thrilled to have the first pick in the fifth round at his disposal.
The Patriots had very little, if anything, to lose here, and everything to gain. They could end up with a great player and a solid fifth round pick, or Shelton is a bust and they still get to make an early fifth round selection (and potentially a pick in the third round next season as well).
Until next time -B$