Prior to opting out of the 2020 college football season, LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin had received first-round 2021 NFL Draft buzz from some quarters. What does the man mountain offer at the next level, and where is he realistically likely to hear his name called at the NFL’s annual selection event?
Tyler Shelvin NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Defensive Tackle
- School: Louisiana State
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 346 pounds
Tyler Shelvin’s journey to the 2021 NFL Draft has not been without incident. The highly-rated nose tackle has had multiple obstacles to overcome. He started out his high school career at Northside High School in Louisiana. Shelvin drew attention for his size and his dominant displays against the run as an interior defensive lineman.
Following the departure of his Northside head coach, his size began to create a problem. At one point in his high school career, he’d ballooned to over 370 pounds. His academic achievements — or lack thereof — also began to pose a problem for him with one eye on a collegiate scholarship.
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As a result, he transferred to Notre Dame High School in a move that is credited with saving his football career. He got help physically and academically and helped guide the Pioneers to a state semifinal. His performances saw him earn All-USA Louisiana Defense First Team honors and a spot in the Under Armour All-America Game. He impressed there, logging 5 tackles including 1 for loss.
A four-star recruit by 247 Sports, he was ranked as the best player in the state of Louisiana. Naturally, the in-state LSU Tigers were the first to offer. Although he attracted an offer from Alabama — attending a training camp with the Crimson Tide — Shelvin’s heart was at home, and he enrolled at LSU in 2017.
Tyler Shelvin’s college football career at LSU
Despite his high profile, Tyler Shelvin’s path to the 2021 NFL Draft was at a standstill in 2017. As a result of his academic performance, he had to take a redshirt year. Although he’d make his debut against Southeastern Louisiana in 2018, his redshirt freshman season was another year of highs and lows.
Against Rice, he logged his first career tackle for loss. That game would also see his only career sack. For as impressive as he is against the run, he isn’t going to earn his money as a pass rusher but more on that later. He’d play in six games in 2018. However, he was also suspended for two games for discipline issues.
Everything began to come together in 2019
As a dominant run defender, he logged 39 tackles including 3 tackles for loss. It may not sound overly impressive, but when you consider the number of times he attracted double teams, you begin to understand the importance the LSU defensive tackle made to the heart of the Tigers’ defensive line.
He opened the season with career-high single-game tackles against Georgia Southern and ended it as a National Champion. Having started the season in a battle for his job, he ended it as one of the most highly rated interior defensive linemen in the nation.
With the option to declare last year, he decided to return for his redshirt junior year. However, with the uncertainty over this last season, LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin opted out of the 2020 college football season and declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Analyzing Tyler Shelvin’s NFL Draft Profile
Big and strong are the only two words you really need to understand Tyler Shelvin’s 2021 NFL Draft profile. At 6’3″, he might not be the tallest player in this year’s class, but at 346 pounds you can be sure that he’s one of the biggest.
He generates incredible strength from his lower half. His legs are massive, and he has the ability to keep churning them to generate the power to overcome his man. His lower body strength helps him to have a solid anchor, making him an often immovable structure. He fills gaps nicely which is a key aspect of his influence as a run defender.
His leg strength also helps him to demonstrate decent explosion at the line of scrimmage. He also exhibits quick and powerful hands to stun offensive linemen at the point of attack. Another element of his game that helps him win at the line of scrimmage is his pad level. He demonstrates the ability to play with low pad level, giving him the advantage in terms of leverage.
As mentioned previously, he often attracts double teams. This helps open up the rest of the defense. That contribution may not show personally in the box score, but the value of it can not be measured.
What are some potential concerns with Tyler Shelvin?
LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin doesn’t come without concerns ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. He will have just two years of college playing experience when the NFL season begins, with only one season of starting experience. As a result, there will be questions as to whether he can make an immediate impact at the next level.
His lack of any discernible skills as a pass rusher will also present a concern. His sheer size means he doesn’t have the speed or athletic ability to chase down the quarterback. Additionally, he doesn’t appear to have the hand skills or pass rush tools to present a pass rush threat.
The upshot of that is that he provides limited value as a one-dimensional threat. During his time as an LSU defensive tackle, he would come off the field on obvious passing downs. That will also be the case in the NFL. As teams look to disguise their defenses, having a two-down interior defensive lineman is detrimental to the game plan.
Tyler Shelvin’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
So what does LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin offer in the 2021 NFL Draft as it pertains to his NFL future? His best use would be as a true nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. Additionally, he could play as a 1-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 system. Either way, a team looking for a run defender to solidify their defensive line will have interest in him, especially in a relatively weak interior defensive linemen class.
As for where he’ll be drafted, the first-round hype from last year was always a little rich for my taste. I would be surprised to see him taken before the third round. In his latest big board for Pro Football Network, Tony Pauline lists LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin as his 98th overall prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Additionally, he has a third-round grade on the nose tackle and ranks him as the sixth-best defensive tackle in the class.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.