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Do not count out 7th round pick Dawson Deaton

Quality depth is needed along the offensive line. 

NFL: Cleveland Browns OTA Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns have had issues along the offensive line. This includes the backups who were hired to help out in case of injuries.

Injuries to the O-Line was the storyline of the 2021 Cleveland Browns.

Everyone has heard that the Browns offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. That is, when they are all healthy. It is certainly true that they possess the best offensive line coach in Bill Callahan. Nobody in the league disputes that.

Cleveland’s offense is geared for one thing: to run. And all five starters were scouted, probed, examined and hired because of one thing: they are great run blockers. You might as well include all of their backups into that category as well.

It hearkens back to the days of Jim Brown and Kevin Mack and Greg Pruitt. Or Bobby Mitchell and Earnest Byner or Leroy Kelly. Just run the damn ball.

And with a stable full of able running backs such as Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson, run the damn ball they will.

Last season, RT Jack Conklin missed games with several injuries. So did RG Wyatt Teller and LT Jedrick Wills. In their stead was inserted Blake Hance, Chris Hubbard, rookie James Hudson and Nick Harris. But Hubbard was lost for the year with an injury, Hance was a roller coaster, Harris held his own while Hudson played like a rookie.

Can the offensive line remain healthy? Can you predict correct lottery numbers?

The key to the success of the offense is the line. The key to the line is keeping everyone healthy. The key to keeping everyone healthy is a huge question. And with that, having quality backups is a big must.

This is part of the reason why GM Andrew Berry selected Dawson Deaton in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL draft.


Deaton (6’-6”, 310 pounds) grew up in Frisco, Texas just 45 minutes north of Dallas. There he played for Frisco High School as a 295-pound beast who stood 6’-4”. As a junior he was named Second Team All-District. He played both center and tackle and ran a 5.3 in the 40.

He was a member of the National Honors Society and the school’s broadcast team while being a two-year starter for the football squad.

After his senior year he was ranked as the third best center in the nation.

He had offers from Army, Colorado State, Boise State, Iowa State, California, Colorado, Dartmouth, Houston, Illinois, Purdue, Texas Tech, Texas State, Memphis, Utah, Kansas, Troy, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico and Mississippi State. He had interest from BYU, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M although no offers were made.

Deaton was rated as a three-star recruit according to He chose to remain in-state and go to Texas Tech where he was a Bachelors of Business Administration major. Deaton is an intelligent guy with grades that hovered around a 3.7 GPA.

At Texas Tech he became a full time starter beginning his sophomore campaign. He finished his college career with 35 starts and was named Second Team All-Big 12 in 2020 and 2021, plus was invited to the Combine.

Deaton was also invited to participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl where he was the Number 1 center prospect. At Texas Tech he was responsible for sending the protection and making all the calls based on what the defense was showing.

“I just want to show how ready I am, everything I can do up front,” Deaton stated in an interview with Football Gameplan while at the Shrine Bowl. “I can play guard too which shows my versatility which means I can line up anywhere on the inside three. The biggest thing that is so different between center to the guard and tackle positions is the responsibilities for the line and making sure everyone is on the same page.”

His Twitter handle is @dawson_deaton.

Browns need quality depth

Last season, the Browns kept 10 offensive linemen. That is unheard of in today’s NFL. The move was a godsend in the end as numerous bodies kept going on IR and the backups to the backups were constantly being called into action.

Now that starting center J.C. Tretter is gone, the position is wide open for the taking. The consensus is that Harris will fill the role smoothly, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

A few years ago, Cleveland drafted OG Austin Corbett with the very first pick in the second round which just happened to be two slots before RB Nick Chubb. Corbett was supposed to get a full year of seasoning before taking over the right guard spot. The following year in preseason he looked lost and played horrible. On opening day, journeyman Eric Kush was the starter. The Browns were Kush’s seventh team. By mid-season, Kush was replaced by Teller.

Corbett eventually was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. So just because Harris is the heir-apparent, only training camp will flush this out. Coach Callahan wants guys who will hustle, learn and progress their skills. Deaton has all of these traits.

NFL: Cleveland Browns Minicamp Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The center position for Cleveland is a crowded one. Along with Harris and Deaton, the Browns inked veteran Ethan Pocic in free agency and signed Brock Hoffman as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech. Plus, Hance has played center.

And even if Harris does indeed win the job, there is his backup position to be won in training camp.

Deaton intends for one or the other to happen this year.