Cleveland Browns should draft Cleveland native Tyler Orlosky
The Cleveland Browns are coaching the South team at the Senior Bowl. Playing for the North is Cleveland native Tyler Orlosky. Is he the answer at center?
The Cleveland Browns are (or at least should be) in the market for a new starting center, but is their solution already living in Cleveland? Cleveland area native and St. Edwards HS graduate Tyler Orlosky has the skills and make-up to be a terrific NFL center. But will the Browns bite?
This week, Tyler Orlosky will participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He will be representing West Virginia University while playing for the North team coached by the Chicago Bears’ staff. During his time in Mobile, he will have the opportunity to impress not only the North coaches but also the coaches of his hometown team, the Cleveland Browns.
Orlosky’s career at West Virginia is already impressive enough to garner the attention of anyone looking to draft a center. The redshirt senior earned three All-Big 12 Academic honors to go along with two years of All-Big 12 playing honors. He was second team All-Big 12 in 2015 and earned unanimous All-Big 12 honors in 2016.
Orlosky was voted team captain the past two seasons as he led the West Virigina offensive line ranked fifth in the nation by Pro Football Focus. A lot of players headed into the draft are highly decorated, but what sets Orlosky apart is his understanding of the game.
In an interview with NFL Draft Scout’s Dane Brugler, Orlosky was asked who the toughest defensive lineman he faced in his career. Orlosky’s answer was revealing:
"Probably Jordan Phillips, nose tackle for Oklahoma. He was a good player, blindsided me on a turnover. It stuck with me. This year, last week against TCU was the toughest line we faced. Not necessarily one guy, but they’re very good at reading blocks and that helps their linebackers to make plays. When the defensive line works well with the linebackers, it makes it tough on offensive line — and that shows with the five sacks we gave up."
He names the player he thought was the toughest but he then shifts the focus toward the toughest defensive line he faced.
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The shift is important because it shows that Orlosky understands that offensive linemen rarely lineup over the same defender consistently in the NFL. In any given game, a center will face linemen who are smaller and faster to bigger gap stuffers. It shows Orlosky understands the real secret of effective center play.
Orlosky understands that an offensive line as a unit will face a defensive line as a unit. More than any place on the field, the men of five on the offensive line must work as a unit. This understanding becomes even more evident when asked what was the most important trait of a center:
"Their understanding of the entire offense. For the most part I know what all 11 guys are doing on that certain play. Especially getting all five linemen on the right page. Getting on the right page with the quarterback and running backs."
Orlosky hits the nail on the head. The most important trait of a center is to get the offensive line all on the same page with the quarterback. This was a piece the Browns sorely missed last season. Another important trait for a center is how to attack a defender.
Orlosky strives where Cameron Erving and even fellow Senior Bowl attendee Ethan Pocic struggled. Orlosky has an excellent strike coming out the snap. He uses independent hand usage to stand the defender up at the line of scrimmage. Even a cursory review of his game against Texas Tech on draftbreakdown.com shows Orlosky controlling his assignment with position and excellent hand placement.
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Drafting Tyler Orlosky would go a long way toward shoring up the most important offensive line position. The Browns have made a commitment to keeping their talent in Cleveland. They may want to keep the Cleveland-based talent in Cleveland as well.