The Cleveland Browns focused heavily on defense during the 2019 NFL Draft, but still left room to add to the offensive line before the weekend was finished.
General manager John Dorsey used his sixth-round selection on Drew Forbes, a three-year starter at left tackle for Southeast Missouri State and a first-team Ohio Valley Conference selection his senior year.
Much like Austin Corbett, a second-round selection in 2018, many talent evaluators viewed Forbes as a guard at the NFL level - except for the Browns, according to Kalyn Kahler of The Monday Morning Quarterback. Cleveland was the only team that told Forbes that a position switch may not be in his future.
The Browns became sold on Forbes’ potential in large part because of offensive line coach James Campen, who focused much of his pre-draft meeting working to determine how Forbes would fit in with the Browns. Once Campen gave his approval, Dorsey knew he had his man, according to Kahler.
Now, rather than pre-determine what Campen can’t do at the NFL level, the Browns plan to give him an opportunity to show what he can do to help the team, as Dorsey explained to Kahler:
“He’s got incredible athleticism, so why not try him at left or right tackle? If that doesn’t work, then move inside, I mean that’s how you do the offensive line. Let them see what their natural position is and then move forward. He is a very athletic and talented guy who is mature, tenacious, and smart.”
It is a smart play by the Browns and the team has little to lose by seeing what Forbes can do at his natural position. If Corbett works out at right guard, Cleveland will be set at guard with Corbett and Joel Bitonio, so there is not a natural opening for Forbes on the interior of the line.
But the tackle positions are still questionable. Greg Robinson settled things down a bit at left tackle after replacing Desmond Harrison at the midway point of last season, but Robinson is playing on a one-year deal and is no sure thing. Right tackle Chris Hubbard showed up for all 16 games last season, but is far from a standout at the position and the Browns can easily move on from his contract after 2019.
The backups - primarily Harrison and Kendall Lamm - are likely not longterm answers either, so there seems to be little downside to finding out this summer what Forbes can do at the tackle position for the Browns.