Nose tackles aren’t sexy. Okay, maybe Vince Wilfork is. But mostly, these are hefty men doing dirty jobs. They eat blockers. They take up space. They willing give themselves up so other people can make plays. That’s not all nose tackles, of course. But most of them. It’s an unglamorous, uncredited position that typically impacts the game significantly despite never appearing on the stat sheet.
In odd front defenses, the nose tackle can be downright essential. All your exotic schemes can fall by the wayside if you don’t have a fat guy up front commanding a couple blockers. Aranda remains in the hunt for a difference making NT.
Could Tyler Shelvin finally be the answer?
Back of the Card
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has "can’t miss" talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Ranking: ****
247 Composite Rating: .9754
Shelvin’s .9754 puts him right between the 4 and 5 star barriers, a logical placement considering he bounced back and forth between both all season. He received an invite to the Under Armour All-American Game. During the week of practice and game, Shelvin impressed in bursts, looking downright dominant at times. He performed similarly at the Opening:
Unfortunately, the in bursts portion is tied to his weight and conditioning. He weight 378 pounds at the opening and appears to be up around that weight again. Unless Shelvin can get himself into better playing shape, he won’t be a factor.
On the Field
Already There: Size, Explosiveness, Power
Working On It: Technique, Discipline
Doesn’t Have It: Focus?
Size: I’ll take “Things you may have too much of for $400, Alex.” Shelvin is pushing 4 bills, which is bad for both life and football. Orgeron famously told his grandma to have Tyler follow a gumbo, no rice diet, which reportedly dropped him all the way to 325. Apparently he stopped, as he showed up well over that weight.
Explosiveness: Watch the play at 1:26 and you’ll see how well the big man moves. In short area, he’s exceptionally explosive. At 2:52 you see him knife into the backfield and make a play on the QB. He’s not a one-gap nightmare like Aaron Donald for the Rams, but he’s also not just a load in the middle. 6:37, I can’t stress this enough, is absolutely shitty technique, but his athleticism takes over and he makes an explosive TFL. 8:24, take a look at that first step. 350+ guys shouldn’t be able to do that.
Power: It’s sensational how easily he’s able to toss defenders off his body. 6:53 is a great example of how you beat cut blocks, using his upper body power to just bury the OL into the ground. At 9:20, I’m not even sure he knows what he’s doing but he blows up the pulling G and then makes a tackle on the RB. Beastly.
Working On It
Technique: Not much to speak of. Shelvin is a guy that presently thrives in physically outmatching his opponents. That simply won’t hold at the next level. There are times he gets pushed off the ball. That shouldn’t happen and it’s largely because he’s lazy with technique.
Discipline: The weight is a problem. As are the classroom issues. It also shows up in his play on the field. There are moments when he’s more than just a guy hurdling his body at OL, but by and large that’s his approach. Throwing yourself into backfields will only get you so far.
Doesn’t Have It
Focus?: I think his discipline issues are a very real concern. We heard pretty similar stories about Travonte Valentine, who was often overweight, struggled in the classroom and eventfully lazied his way out of the program. Shelvin is a very real risk to recreate that path.
Poseur’s 80s Movie Comparison
Let’s see... undisciplined, risky, yet also a mercurial talent... well, the 80s movie scene is littered with guys who maybe had a bit too much access to indulge bad decision making. But sometimes, when you let the inmates run the asylum, you ended up with pure brilliance. Tyler Shelvin in Stripes.
Stripes is one of the great underdog comedies, but it is also a ramshackle mess that was largely improvised on the spot. Warren Oates hated the constant improvisations and unprofessionalism, John Larroquette was by his own admission drunk or high for the majority of filming, and Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were covertly rewriting Ivan Reitman’s dialogue on the fly. The movie is a tonal mess, and the narrative utterly falls apart in the second half.
It’s also freaking hysterical. They managed to hold the whole thing together just long enough to make one of the funniest movies of all time, primarily by virtue of an extremely young, talented, and hungry cast. This is what happens when Bill Murray and John Candy are both trying to make a name for themselves. Sure, the film is undisciplined and off the rails, but it’s also great. Shelvin is hoping his greatness outweighs his current lack of discipline. Just hold on long enough to white knuckle through.
What the Future Holds
Monday, Orgeron took the podium and used his time to openly criticize Shelvin:
I wish Tyler Shelvin was eligible and 40 pounds lighter. I don’t know which one would be easier. But I think Tyler is going to lose weight and be a good football player for us next year.
Shelvin should read O’s shot across the bow as exactly that. This is a warning shot. Fresh off LSU getting blasted up front, the head coach is calling out a freshman who failed to qualify. O seemed to have hopes of Shelvin featuring in the rotation in 2017 and we now won’t see him until at least 2018.
I’d say his future is very much in doubt. Sadly, like Travonte Valentine, it has nothing to do with ability. Shelvin needs to get his act together mentally and physically. He needs to take his classroom time seriously and dedicate himself to getting into superb condition. O used his pulpit to call a player out, so let’s see how the young guy responds.
If he is able to turn it around, the sky is the limit. O compared him to Dorsey, but I don’t see that. He’s got some explosive ability, which is rather impressive at times. But Shelvin will be at his best standing up blockers and clogging holes for LBs to roam and make plays. He’s big and unsexy and that’s just fine.
High End: All Conference DT that doesn’t rack up stats but serves as defensive anchor
Low End: Bust and transfer or quit
Realistic: Depth DT. At this point, I don’t have much faith in Shelvin. He has all the attributes, but it’s hard to see him getting himself 100% right to be the dominant force within his capability. I think he’ll wind up getting eligible, but he will never stay in great shape and will thus be limited to a rotational role.