The Cleveland Browns, which had a pitiful offense last year, left QB Brady Quinn and RB Adrian Peterson on the board and went with a safe pick: Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas.
What the Experts Say:
- Rick Gosselin’s Final Ranking: 3rd overall
- Mel Kiper Final Ranking: 4th overall
- Scout.com Final Ranking: 2nd Overall
Player Evaluation: After a slow start to his senior campaign when he was rebounding from knee surgery performed, Thomas looked in fine form at the end of the year. One of the best pass protectors to come around in a long time and has the growth potential to improve as a run blocker. An early selection in the draft and an immediate starter at the next level.
STRENGTHS: Feet, Intelligence, Pass Protection
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Drive Blocking Skills
Biography: Three-year starter who began his college career at defensive end. All-Conference selection every season since his sophomore campaign.
Pos: Tremendous pass-blocking left tackle who does a terrific job protecting the blind side. Patient, makes exceptional use of angles and body positioning. Bends his knees, gets leverage on opponents and displays quickness in all aspects of his game. Intelligent, works well with teammates and immediately picks up blitzes. Keeps his feet moving throughout the action and effectively works his hands. Gives effort as a run blocker.
Neg: Average skills blocking in motion. Not a finisher and must improve his run-blocking strength.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock.
The Browns really had to decide between Thomas, RB Adrian Peterson and QB Brady Quinn. The truth is all three were good values at this pick but taking Quinn would have made more sense because Charlie Frye isn’t a franchise quarterback. That being said, Frye should be more effective with Thomas protecting the edge. A three-year starter at Wisconsin, Thomas gets into his pass set quickly, uses his long arms to ride edge rushers past the quarterback and can counter when ends try to redirect inside after starting outside.
While he isn’t a great run blocker who can consistently drive two-gap defenders off the ball, he gets into sound position and plays with a bit of a mean streak. Thomas also does a good job of throwing blocks downfield. With the Browns already adding Seth McKinney and Eric Steinbach though free agency, Cleveland’s offensive line should be substantially better this year.