Can Shon Coleman fulfill his potential this summer?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns are set along the offensive line – except for the right tackle position. But Shon Coleman has the potential to solve that problem.
A year ago the Cleveland Browns entered training camp with a major question at the right tackle position.
Mitchell Schwartz, one of the league’s best, was gone in free agency after not missing a start in four years with the Browns. A training camp battle would ultimately see Austin Pasztor, a converted guard, win the starting spot. For a converted guard, Pasztor did an admirable job, but not a good enough one that the Browns were interested in retaining his services.
Fast forward a year and the Browns find themselves once again planning a competition at right tackle when training camp opens on July 27.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
But this time it may have a longterm impact, thanks to second-year tackle Shon Coleman.
The Browns selected Coleman in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite knowing that he would need to spent most of the year recovering from offseason knee surgery.
That scenario played out as planned, as Coleman was not added to the roster until the middle of October and did not see significant playing time until the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even in limited action, the Browns saw enough from Coleman to let Pasztor leave in free agency and will open camp with Coleman being the favorite to win the starter’s role (with Cameron Erving serving as his backup).
In an interesting twist, it was at this time last year that Coleman was being praised by none other than Myles Garrett, who had competed against Coleman in college and is now his teammate on the Browns. When asked about Coleman, Garrett told al.com about Coleman’s growth as a player at Auburn:
"“Humongous. He was already big, but his footwork really improved that next year. It made it a task to try to get by him. It’s already hard enough to try to go through him. You have to find a way to exploit his weaknesses, and he did a good job at lessening and working on those.”"
Garrett and Coleman matched up twice in college, and while Garrett had his way in their first meeting, posting four tackles and a quarterback hurry, Coleman was ready for him in the rematch, limiting Garrett to just three tackles and helping Auburn roll up a season-high 320 rushing yards.
Having worked his way back from his knee injury last season, Coleman is now ready to work his way into the Browns starting lineup, an opportunity he is taking seriously, as he told clevelandbrowns.com:
"“I just came here and worked out and went home and played video games. I’m always looking to better the team. I’ve been grinding so hard this offseason. I have high expectations for myself. I look forward to getting on the field more this year.”"
The Browns worked hard in the offseason to rebuild the offensive line, adding center J.C. Tretter and right guard Kevin Zeitler in free agency. They join left tackle Joe Thomas and left guard Joel Bitonio, who is returning from his second consecutive season-ending injury, for what has the makings to be one of the league’s top lines.
No matter who ultimately wins the right tackle spot, they will be the weak link on the line simply due to the fact that the other four starters are immensely talented.
Next: PFF taps Browns O-line as league's second best
But if Coleman plays the way that the coaching staff and Garrett believe he is capable of, the right tackle slot will not be a weak link for very long.