McLafferty's Take on the 2nd Round

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Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nevada Wolfpack offensive lineman Joel Bitonio speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans kicked things off taking one of my favorite players in the 2nd round in Xavier Su’a-Filo who is a strong guard who I believe is fully ready to step in and take over right away. No worries as Cleveland got the 2nd or 3rd offensive linemen I wanted from this round. I started off really wanting Cyrus Kouandjio but the more I studied Joel Bitonio the more I thought he would fit anywhere in our zone-blocking scheme. I said this when I did my mock and had him going #32 to Seattle but it applies perfectly to the Browns as well.

“I think the Seahawks go with Joel Bitonio. The Seahawks need help at both RG and RT position and Bitonio can play both. Plus he works really well in a zone-blocking scheme, something the Seahawks run. He can move quick but also has the strength and balance to knock guys down on the run. If he can play the T position right away great, if not move him inside and let him develop until you move him next year”

With Joe Thomas and Alex Mack already in place, Bitonio will be the perfect addition the O-Line core. The question is where will he play? As I said earlier if he can win the job at T awesome, if not move inside and wait till next season, but the Browns have some versatility on the offensive line. Outside of Thomas at LT and Mack at C, everything is open. John Greco can slide all over the line though mainly at G/C. Jason Pinkston is mainly only G. And both Mitchell Schwartz and newly signed Paul McQuistan can play both T/G allowing A LOT of flexibility in case of injury or fit. From reports it sounds like McQuistan was brought in to play G. And it’s possible the new coaching scheme believes Schwartz can make a better impact in the zone blocking scheme at RT then he was in the previous scheme. Either way its nice. It can be Thomas, McQuistan, Mack, Bitonio, Schwartz or even Thomas, McQuistan, Mack, Schwartz, Bitonio OR EVEN Thomas, Greco, Mack, Bitonio, get the idea.

What this does is really improve all aspects of the offense and continue the push for the Browns to be a multi-dimensional offense (which looked close to being completed until Josh Gordon‘s news) . It started when they brought in Kyle Shanahan and his (dad’s) zone blocking scheme that was partially responsible for years of Broncos and Redskins rushing dominance. In the zone-blocking scheme we rely on quickness, smarts and balance. It helps get a little momentum before leveling a defender as well confusion that leaves the defender excitedly waiting to make the tackle only to get blasted by an unseen lineman, either pulling or coming from a blindspot. That’s a huge reason why Bitonio was the pick. He’s able to do all of that and really excels there. My take on him from earlier “OT/G Joel Bitonio is a guy who will fit GREAT into our system at either guard or tackle. He has the versatility to do both. He’s quick enough to play guard but strong enough to hold his ground and dig in at tackle. Scouts rave about his balance which is exactly what’s needed in zone-blocking scheme. Bitonio is a guy to keep an eye on.” In between all of this the Browns went out and got Ben Tate to address the absence of a stud running back. Ben Tate should be that #1 guy but don’t forget Dion Lewis. He’s a guy who can be great out of the backfield in the receiving aspect as well as having blasting speed for a great change of speed back. He reminds me a lot of the runners Shanahan’s father used to bring and within a year would be a 1,600 yard rusher.


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