Vince Wilfork Mentoring New Member Of The Patriots

Danny Shelton was already looking up to a couple of former Patriots even before he landed in Foxboro with New England and Cleveland completing a deal around the defensive tackle. 

Shelton considers the late Junior Seau one of his idols given their shared Samoan heritage and he has sported the No. 55 in-part to honor him. Seau played for the Patriots from 2006-2009 before retiring from the league. The other former Pats star that’s caught the eye of Shelton is Vince Wilfork, who, of course, is one of the greatest defensive tackles to ever put on a Patriots uniform. 

“It’s just amazing to have this opportunity to play for a great organization and knowing that one of my role models, one of the guys I looked up to, played here,” Shelton said of Seau during his conference call on Monday. “Actually, a couple guys. Vince Wilfork, as well.

“Just knowing I’ll be able to play for a team that’s had such great talent here. I just want to add to the team’s success and be a part of the team.”

Even before being traded to the Patriots, Shelton had already been in contact with Wilfork to try and improve his game and learn from one of the best.

“[My agent] had me reach out to him this offseason not knowing that I was going to be traded, just to kind of hear from a great defensive tackle,” he said. “Now that I’m a New England Patriots, it just seems even more welcoming to learn from one of the greatest New England Patriots.”

He added: “Obviously, Vince Wilfork is one of the greatest D-tackles. For me, he’s someone that I still look up to, even when he was with the Texans. I got the opportunity to reach out to him and kind of pick his brain and just learn a couple tips from him. He’s been really responsive. He’s been a guy that’s been really helpful this offseason and I’m looking forward to reaching out more and learning some more from him.”

Shelton, a former No. 12 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, is projected to be a starter with the Patriots alongside Malcom Brown and has drawn comparisons to Wilfork throughout his career. In 2017, the 6-foot-2, 335 pounder totaled 34 tackles for Cleveland.

While he still may be learning the ins-and-outs of how to perform like Wilfork on the field, Shelton is already speaking like a Patriot.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is part of the formula to winning is doing your job,” Shelton said. “I see that everywhere at the facility with everyone just staying focused and having that same goal leading toward success. That’s what I want to be a part of.”