The Cleveland Browns offensive line has been a mess. This past Sunday the Browns began to bring stability by playing draft picks Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman.
This past Sunday, Spencer Drango made his first NFL start. As first starts go, his was a success. He was effective enough of a blocker to avoid getting anyone hurt. For the Browns, that is all one can reasonably ask for.
Coming out of college, Drango’s major asset was his ability to pass block. His size and skill set make him ideal for the guard position. Early in camp, Drango worked out as a guard. However, when the extent of Shon Coleman’s injury came to light, Drango began taking reps at right tackle.
During the preseason, Drango played left tackle at an acceptable level. He didn’t give up any big hits and blocked effectively in the run game. However, when the season started, the Browns went with Austin Pasztor over the better performing Drango, choosing experience over the uncertainty of the rookie.
Drango’s skill set includes effective pass blocking and a road grater mentality as a run blocker. He is ideal to take over for John Greco when his contract expires.
On Sunday, Drango took his first steps toward taking over for Greco. His play at guard was not perfect but it was good for a first start. He showed flashes of being able to capture his defender in run blocking. He showed he can pass block adequately when the quarterback stays in the pocket. He was a reliable blocker in both the run and pass game.
As Drango gets more starts under his belt, his ability to block should improve making him an asset on the offensive line.
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Shon Coleman took snaps at right tackle on Sunday. His status this season has been questionable as he missed almost all of the preseason with an injury. He made the team out of camp but was basically a non-useful body up until recently.
Coleman’s day did not go as well as Drango’s. He struggled in pass protection against the bull rush. Defenders who were able to convert speed into power were able to push him back into the quarterback. In this sense, he had the same struggles as Austin Pasztor.
In run blocking Coleman looked like a rookie. There were times he blocked effectively only to be followed by plays in which he looked completely lost. Such is the life of an NFL lineman being broken into the NFL.
Coleman is a work in progress. As he progresses he will begin to show flashes of why he was picked in the third round. More experience and playing time will help.
It is good to see the Browns looking to incorporate their draft picks from April into the offensive line rotation. The sooner Drango and Coleman can integrate into the starting lineup the better. The fear of playing a rookie is that the quarterbacks will get killed in pass protection. But since the Browns are already down to their fourth string quarterback, who cares?