BEREA, Ohio — Despite passing on a wide receiver in the first round, the Browns passed on a receiver at the top of the second-round despite the looming suspension of Josh Gordon by taking offensive lineman Joel Bitonio.
Bitonio (6-4, 302) was a late riser in draft circles as the draft approached and was listed by several mock drafts as a potential first-round draft pick.
"I haven’t played in the NFL the last five years have played tackle but think I can play any where on the line," Bitonio said. "I like to play hard. Part of playing football is playing until the whistle blows and I play as hard as I possibly can. "
Bitonio is characterized as a tough, physical player and he thinks he’ll fit in with what the Browns want to do.
"I know the AFC North is a hard-nosed division and I hope I can bring some of that toughness to the (Browns)," he said. "I’m going to come in and compete from the start."
Bitonio has blocked for former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and has been in a mobile zone blocking scheme that Kyle Shanahan plans to employ.
NFL Draft Guide’s Dane Brugler summarized Bitonio in this way:
"Stays light on his feet with good initial and recovery quickness…good bend and natural movement skills with lower body explosion…nice job sinking his hips with the lateral range to ride defenders around the pocket…nice job on combo blocks and keeps his head on a swivel…patient in his set, but has a fast-paced and energetic play style…physical and nasty at the POA with outstanding finishing toughness and grit…feisty temperament and rarely lets defenders get the best of him…persistent and focused with an unyielding effort — gets the most out of his ability and pushes himself…likeable personality and leader with an authoritative voice in the locker room…versatile experience as a three-year starter (38 starts) with time at both tackle spots in Nevada’s offense."