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Film Room: Tyler Shelvin makes it hard to run the ball

Shelvin is the defensive piece we didn’t know the Bengals needed.

LSU v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have to deal with two of the NFL’s best rushing attacks in the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens four times a year in the AFC North. They’ll also become acquainted with Najee Harris, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was clearly with that in mind that they drafted LSU nose tackle Tyler Shelvin in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Standing at 6-3 and 346 pounds, Shelvin could be a big part of stopping the run for the Bengals in 2021 and beyond.

Let’s take a look at how he fared against one of the top interior linemen in the draft, Landon Dickerson, when LSU played Alabama in 2019.

In this clip Shelvin battles one-on-one with Dickerson.

Initially, Dickerson is able to get his body into the gap between Shelvin and the running back, but Shelvin fights through the block and is able to get involved in the tackle.

This is an excellent play that showcases Shelvin’s strength and motor.

Shelvin here gets a great initial shot on Dickerson, knocking him back and standing him up. This sets up the rest of the play.

Dickerson tries to block Shelvin to his right, away from the ball carrier, but he is off balance. Shelvin strikes him again with a left arm shot Dickerson’s left shoulder, and as a result, the center goes down.

This is another excellent rep for Shelvin. He has a great punch, that stands out at the end of this play. But as I mentioned above, what really makes the play is how Shelvin comes off the ball and strikes the initial blow.

Let’s take a step back and talk about Shelvin’s technique.

He has excellent leverage on this play. He explodes low out of his stance, getting underneath Dickerson’s pads and rolling his hips through contact. Because Shelvin keeps coming, Dickerson is never able to recover from this initial contact.

This technique was also demonstrated in rookie mini-camp as you can see in the clip below.

Going back to the Alabama game, Dickerson and left guard Evan Neal push Shelvin back, but he is able to split the double-team pretty quickly.

It doesn’t make a difference on this play, but that is not something that every defensive tackle can do, particularly against a talented tandem like Dickerson and Neal.

Shelvin showed throughout this game that he could matchup with one of the best, but on this play he looked pretty good against two of the best.

Dickerson gets the better of Shelvin here and knocks him down, but Shelvin gets back up and jumps on the pile trying to bring the ball carrier down. Shelvin shows the effort that Zac Taylor and his staff have been preaching about since Day 1 in Cincinnati.

Dickerson vs. Shelvin was a fun matchup to watch, I’ve highlighted some of Shelvin’s wins, but it was a battle throughout the game and Dickerson certainly got his share of wins. Despite the fact that Dickerson played throughout the game and Shelvin was substituted frequently, Shelvin seemed to wear down as the game went on.

Of course, he still had the energy to carry Joe Burrow off the field after the game.

Endurance and balance a couple of issues that were evident in this game, but overall he was very impressive. His best fit in the NFL is as a situational run-suffer, largely lining up in a 0-technique over the center in the Bengals odd defensive fronts. This makes him a great fit for the Bengals defense.