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Trust Talent Time

Lions host Washington DT Danny Shelton on draft visit

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Four years ago, the Detroit Lions brought in Nick Fairley for a late visit when it seemed like the onetime top prospect might fall to their spot in the middle of the first round of the NFL draft.

Fairley did, and the Lions took him 13th overall.

Danny Shelton’s draft stock has been the topic of similar debate for entirely different reasons in recent

weeks, and the Washington nose tackle said on his verified Twitter account last night that he’s making a predraft visit to Detroit.

“Headed to Detroit soon, overnight flights are the best no long lines at checkin. Son @ShaqThompson_7 is 21 too, I’m getting old,” Shelton wrote, referring to his Huskies teammate Shaq Thompson.

Shelton is considered the best nose tackle in the draft, a powerful run stuffer who would fill an immediate need on the Lions’ thin defensive line.

He was a first-team All-America who made 93 tackles, 16.5 for loss, had six sacks and rarely came off the field last year.

And while there are few questions about his toughness and motor — like there were with Fairley — Shelton’s landing spot is a bit of a mystery because many teams view him as a two-down player.

Shelton said at the NFL combine in February that he embraces comparisons to Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. The two have similar playing styles and builds. Shelton is 6-feet-2 and 339 pounds; Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Baltimore Ravens, is listed at 6-feet-4 and 340 pounds.

“I take real pride with what I was blessed in, my big legs,” Shelton said. “Growing up, I’ve always watched other Polynesians play. Troy Polamalu is probably my biggest inspiration. I’ve always wanted to play safety. I got attracted to Haloti’s style. A dominant player, him being Tongan and me being Samoan, I felt like I could be just like him. I challenged his weight room numbers when I was in college and didn’t get near it. But he’s definitely a role model for me.”

The Lions are looking for immediate help on their defensive line after losing Fairley, Ndamukong Suh and George Johnson in free agency this off-season and replacing them with Ngata and Tyrunn Walker. C.J. Mosley, who started eight games at defensive tackle for the Lions last year, also remains unsigned.

The Lions have their local workout day today and also hosted offensive linemen Jamon Brown of Louisville and La’el Collins of LSU on pre-draft visits.

Here’s the complete list of the 30 players the Lions have confirmed they’ve brought in for predraft visits.

South Florida defensive back Chris Dunkley also told the Free Press he visited the Lions on Tuesday, where he talked with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and cornerback Bill Bentley. Dunkley was at Florida when Austin was the Gators’ defensive coordinator, and he’s from the same town as Bentley.