Training camp is finally here as all fans can rejoice. For the past 11 years, the Cleveland Browns have been spoiled by the presence of Joe Thomas. We haven’t had to worry about one of the most important positions in football while he was here. Even with his greatness, the Browns never found stability at the quarterback position and now that we have a quarterback, we are left with a gaping hole after Thomas’ retirement.
The majority of the offensive line is set in stone with Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler as the guards, JC Tretter at center and Chris Hubbard at right tackle, but left tackle is fair game and it comes down to three guys in my opinion: Shon Coleman, Austin Corbett and Greg Robinson.
Shon Coleman probably has the best shot at winning the job.
After being drafted by Cleveland with the 76th pick in the 2016 draft, he saw limited action as a rookie. Coleman went on to start all 16 games at right tackle last year and now with Thomas gone, he can switch back to his natural position where he played at Auburn. The three-year vet has the advantage, too. He has been preparing and working out with the right people.
Coleman has been taking advice from the great Joe Thomas since stepping foot into the facilities. Joe even spent some time with the team during spring practices. Learning from a guy like that can certainly boost your confidence. You can only hope Thomas’ work ethic and attention to detail can translate to Coleman. It also helps when you’re facing a pass-rushing threat like Myles Garrett. His power and speed off the edge forces Coleman to always be at his best. No plays off. He must focus on fixing his pass protection issues and facing Garrett should help train him to become better.
That is the hope, at least.
The other candidate would be Austin Corbett. For those who may not know, Corbett was selected by the Browns with the 33rd overall pick in this past draft. He is a versatile lineman who can play guard if needed, but he probably feels more comfortable at left tackle, seeing how that was his position in high school and at the University of Nevada. He is seen more as an athletic guard than a tackle due to his size (6’4″). Corbett needs to work on his footwork and technique if he wants to compete for the starting job.
The final candidate is former 2014 second overall pick, Greg Robinson. The tackle has struggled since entering the league and failing to live up to his draft status. Entering the fourth year of his rookie deal with the then St. Louis Rams, his fifth year option was decline and then later traded to the Detroit Lions. He started six games until an injury ended his season. I don’t have high expectations for Robinson since he didn’t have many opportunities other than Cleveland. He was signed five days after mandatory minicamp so Coleman, who took the majority of first-team snaps, may not have impressed the coaches enough to bring in competition.
This should be an interesting competition to watch out for.
Who will be the Cleveland Browns starting left tackle?