It would be easy to go full blown panic mode right now unless you really look at the bigger picture. So lets slow down step back and see what we have to work with. First as I posted earlier I completely believe John Dorsey had this as a back up plan that was really the main plan all along. We have to remember that Dorsey was able to watch the Browns play real games last year while also sitting in the locker room learning everything about this team. Then from all reports he went “ dark” pre-draft and formulated a plan of attack at every position from first string to third. The Browns have some of the most highly respected front office people in all of the NFL. These men have dealt with every possible scenario that can or will happen. So to think that right after losing a Hall of Fame left tackle that this wasn’t part of the original plan it’s logical. Lets look at the pick of Austin Corbett he already had a relationship with Joel Bitonio, that means chemistry is already in place. If you read the draft profile of both men its like a carbon copy. Bitonio was able to learn under Joe Thomas for years and now Corbett will be able to learn under Bitonio. I already see people talking about arm size so lets take a look at those stats. Idea left tackles have an arm length of 36” but this is not normal. The average arm length is 33.75 at the NFL combine. So where does Joel Bitonio fit in? His arm length is 33 7/8 so well within a normal range. ( Austin Corbett is 33 1/8 ). Bitonio has also taken 1000’s of snap in what could be one of the most important factors, the AFC North with that he already knows this division. I believe that will play a big roll in also helping Corbett to prepare for each game. Joe Thomas is a teacher and I’m sure he and Joel spent many hours talking about each player Joe faced and how he was able to defend them. Next looking at his performance last year Bitonio took 100% of all the snaps and had a overall PFF grade of 75.4 while Joe Thomas was a 84.7 while it’s a drop it’s also not a big drop. They key factor I looked at was pass blocking. Out of 16 games Joel only had one bad game it was week 12.
We have to live in the real world and this team isn’t replacing Joe Thomas with another Joe Thomas. But with addition of Darren Fells and a little scheme work from coach Haley moving Joel to left tackle truly does give the Browns the best chance of replacing Joe right now. Joel Bitonio is going to be years ahead of anyone the Browns could get off the market. Corbett will have two veterans that know this division and the players he’ll face helping him grow quickly into an easier spot at guard. The Browns are 8 days away from the first preseason game a month away from the first game. They gave Coleman a chance he didn’t work out. Bitonio will be facing Garrett to help get ready and not sure you could ask for better competition. I see this as truly the best option to help this young team not only get ready now but win now.