Cleveland Browns: Austin Pasztor Leading RT position battle
By Joel W. Cade
The Cleveland Browns released their second depth chart with Austin Pasztor edging Spencer Drango for Right Tackle. But that may not be for long.
The Cleveland Browns have released their second depth chart of the preseason, and one notable change is the promotion of Austin Pasztor to starting right tackle over Spencer Drango.
The move comes as no surprise as Pasztor was taking first-team reps even before last Friday’s game at Green Bay. He then started the game at right tackle against the Packers. Although he started the game, he continued playing well after the established starters came off the field.
Pasztor makes sense as the current option for the right tackle position given his experience starting at right tackle in Jacksonville and his road-grater mentality in the running game. His performance in the running game at Green Bay was in line with what one would expect out of a starting right tackle.
Hue Jackson voiced his support of Pasztor following the preseason opener in Green Bay.
“I thought Austin battled, I thought he battled hard for his first time under the gun,” Jackson said. “I thought he competed extremely hard and I think he’s only going to get better.”
However, there is plenty of room for improvement in the passing game. Pasztor looked off-balance on several occasions. He even looked like he was catching the defensive player, lacking an initial punch. These aspects of his game will need to improve if he wants to keep his starting job.
Nipping at Pasztor’s heels is Spencer Drango. Drango performed as well as a rookie could in the first exhibition game of the preseason. His run blocks effectively moved people off the line of scrimmage. He was able to pass block effectively at both right and left tackle. Most importantly, Drango played with a mean streak, always finishing his blocks with extra gusto.
Even though the depth chart came out this week with Pasztor on top, it could change at any time. Pasztor has the edge given his starting experience at right tackle. But Drango was physically the better player last Friday night.
The NFL is called “Not For Long” for a reason. Even if Pasztor is successful in holding off Drango this preseason and throughout the regular season, Drango will have the edge long-term.
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The future of the Cleveland Browns’ right tackle position belongs to the likes of Shon Coleman and Spencer Drango. Austin Pasztor is a bridge veteran until the rookies are ready. If Drango continues to improve in the classroom and on the field, the future may not be too far off.