By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Understand this about the 2012 NFL draft crop: It did not offer a whole lot in the way of exceptional offensive tackles.
Some would argue that only one was Matt Kalil, the former USC standout chosen by the Minnesota Vikings with the fourth overall choice acquired in a trade with the Browns.
The Browns had an offensive tackle need as well, someone to take over on the right side after they parted ways with Tony Pashos. But according to their player evaluations, after Kalil, they did not see a second one worthy of a first-round pick. That is why, after using the third overall choice on running back Trent Richardson, they used the 22nd on quarterback Brandon Weeden.
The Browns did, however, identify a player they believe can satisfactorily address their hole at right tackle: Mitchell Schwartz, from California. And that is why they decided to select him with their second-round pick, ahead of other tackles who received greater discussion from national draft analysts.
The Browns like the power with which he plays, the exact quality that a right tackle must have to help lead the charge in the running game.
The Browns also like the fact that he has a solid physique, with long arms (33 inches), and is capable of adding more muscle. Mitchell is smart, agile, and has strong instincts.
In addition, he is a highly aggressive player who gives full effort on every snap, the perfect attitude when getting out in front on run plays. And Mitchell does a nice job of working in space.
Some draftniks might have had Mitchell rated a lower than where the Browns chose him, but that doesn’t matter to general manager Tom Heckert and the rest of the team’s decision-makers. The Browns thoroughly scouted the position, and were convinced Mitchell was the right man to address a pressing need.
And, as far as the Browns were concerned, Mitchell brought better value than the remaining wide receivers on the board. They saw far more urgency in landing him where they did because they want someone who can help them get the most from their two other newest additions on offense, Richardson and Weeden.
With better offensive line play, the Browns have every reason to believe they’ve already done enough to improve their production on that side of the ball.
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