Patriots gridiron news: Danny Shelton has Vince Wilfork type potential

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive tackle Danny Shelton
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive tackle Danny Shelton /

Danny Shelton is not Vince Wilfork, but the new Patriots defensive tackle will turn to his idol to become the best player he be in New England. 

While Alan Branch did a pretty good job manning the middle of the New England Patriots defensive line when motivated, no one has stepped up to fill the shoes of former defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.

Enter Danny Shelton.

At 6-foot-2, 339 pounds, the 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft has the body to fill those shoes and definitely has the talent.  In fact, the big man was compared to Wilfork coming out of the University of Washington.  Unable to fully live up to the hype while with the Cleveland Browns, the 24-year-old Shelton is hoping to do so in New England, where the man he idolizes played the majority of his NFL career.

As he has reached out to him before, during his final NFL playing days in Houston, Danny Shelton says he will definitely reach out to him even more now that he’s with the Patriots.

"“For me, he’s [Vince Wilfork] someone that I still look up to even when he was with the Texans,” Shelton said Monday during his introductory conference.  “I got the opportunity to reach out to him and kind of pick his brain and just learn a couple of tips from him.  He’s been really responsive.  He’s been a guy that has been really helpful this offseason and I’m looking forward to reaching out more and learning some more from him.”"

If anyone can help Shelton succeed with the Patriots, it will be Vince Wilfork.  Not only was he a powerful defender for years in New England, his leadership on the field and in the community is still appreciated by fans, teammates and the organization.

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He is also appreciated by the way he did whatever Bill Belichick asked of him.  He was a run stopper who allowed other defensive players to do their jobs.  In a similar role, Danny Shelton can find some success, especially with such a great player like Wilfork mentoring him.

Overall, as long as Shelton stays in his lane and does his job, he will be a valuable contributor to the New England Patriots defense in 2018 and hopefully beyond.

"“I’m just going to go with whatever coach (Belichick) wants me to do,” Shelton said.  “My best feature is stopping the run, so if he wants me to play at a specific position.  I’ll do it, and I’ll make sure I do my job for the team’s success.”"

With the talent and size Shelton has, he should have success in New England.  He may not be as great as Vince Wilfork, but in a winning atmosphere, he should be able to live up to some of the hype he entered the league with.

Around the AFC East 

Miami Dolphins: New England Patriots fans will never get use to Danny Amendola in a Miami Dolphins uniform, but the veteran wide receiver appears excited to be a part of his new team.

The keyword there is “appears” as he said the right things to endear himself to the fans of Miami.

"“It feels great,” Amendola said when asked about his new team.  “I’ve played a lot of games against the Dolphins and I have a lot of respect for the organization and I’m really happy to be a part of it and get started.”"

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The 32-year-old veteran receiver signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins after playing five seasons in New England.  During his time with the Patriots, he won two Super Bowls and became known as “Playoff Amendola” for his clutch performances in the playoffs.