When the Cleveland Browns drafted offensive lineman Austin Corbett with the first pick of the second round this year, it was assumed that Corbett would instantly be placed in the competition for the vacant left tackle position. But the man who held the job for the last 11 seasons doesn’t see it that way.
Joe Thomas, who retired in the offseason after spending his entire career in Cleveland, said to NFL.com’s Nick Shook this week that, “I don’t think Austin Corbett is going to play tackle in the NFL. I got to spend all of spring there watching film and practicing and coaching him up and he’s certainly a guard or a center.”
That doesn’t mean Thomas thinks Corbett doesn’t have a role to play, either this year or eventually. Rather, he believes that left guard Joel Bitonio has the best shot to serve as Cleveland’s left tackle this season, with Corbett or Spencer Drango then moved to guard.
Thomas cited Corbett’s physical frame as a main reason why tackle doesn’t appear to be the right position. “Austin, God bless him, is not a tackle. He does not have the speed that you need to be able to block edge rushers... I think he’s very well-suited for guard, for center, but he’s not really tall or lanky. He’s not a basketball player. I think typically you want your tackles to be kind of former basketball players,” said Thomas. Shook and Thomas didn’t discuss Shon Coleman, but he too should be one of the options the Browns explore at left tackle during the course of training camp and the preseason.
Thomas, meanwhile, isn’t looking much like an offensive tackle himself these days. He told Shook that “I was more eager to lose weight than almost anything in retirement,” and has dropped 50 pounds thus far. His secret? “You just don’t eat until you feel like you’re gonna throw up at every meal and all of a sudden the weight falls right off.”