FOXBORO -- When Patriots center David Andrews was asked about his first impressions of new teammate Danny Shelton, acquired from the Browns this offseason via trade, Andrews answered quickly.
"Big guy," he said. "He's a very big guy."
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Shelton's working on that. The defensive tackle said he's shrinking a bit as he goes through the Patriots offseason workout program - and that's the goal.
Shelton plans to play at 335 pounds, a number he still has yet to reach after gaining some weight starting at the end of last season. He explained that the fluctuations in his weight have become sort of his annual routine: Add some in the winter; shed it in the spring when workouts are underway.
Since arriving in Foxboro, he said the changes to his body have been noticeable as he's embarked on an intensive conditioning plan unlike any he experienced in Cleveland.
"My body's adjusting to all the running, man," he said. "It's pretty crazy. But I like it."
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What the Patriots have Shelton doing is a radical departure from what he experienced in the first three years of his pro career.
"Oh yeah. Definitely," he said. "I think any other team would say the same thing. Then again, I've only been on one team and I've only done one offseason program. Now that I'm here, it's pretty cool to change it up a bit and just watch my body change."
Shelton called the early portion of the Patriots program "a struggle," but he knows it has the potential to get even tougher since has yet to be introduced to the hill that rolls off the back of the team's practice fields.
"Not yet. I wave by it," he said. "Just getting my mind ready for it. We haven't gotten to that part. It is deceiving. It doesn't look too tough. But just hearing from some of the guys, it's not something you want to mess with."
Shelton figures to play a significant role in the middle of the Patriots defensive line in 2018. He has the ability to play as a true nose tackle and is expected to be a run-stuffing force on early downs. He was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2015 draft and considered a true blue-chip tackle in that year's class.
His fifth-year option for 2019 was not picked up earlier this offseason - neither was the option for teammate Malcom Brown - which Shelton said, "sucked at first." But he's trying to think of it as an opportunity to show what he can do this year and put himself in a good position moving forward.
Shelton knows that part of putting himself in a good position will be to be in good condition so that he can make plays in critical moments for his new team.
"That's what I'm more focusing on," he said, "and that's what I like about the change is that my body will be more trained for the endurance and trained for fourth quarter, overtime."