The Cleveland Browns right guard competition is one of the biggest battles during camp, and hometowner Kyle Kalis has a fighting chance to win the job.
It’s hard not to like Cleveland Browns offensive guard Kyle Kalis.
Check out his ClevelandBrowns.com interview with Nathan Zegura if you have any doubts.
The 6-foot-4, 306-pound Kalis turned 25-years-old last December, and the St. Edward High School grad from Lakewood, Ohio is currently in his second season with the Browns. The humble giant talks about his quest to be a starting Browns O-lineman and he could not sound more pumped about his chances.
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"“It’s kinda been like a surreal experience. Growing up [in Cleveland] for a chunk of my life…it’s always kinda been a dream of, what if I get to play for the Browns one day, and here I am.” – Kalis via ClevelandBrowns.com"
Welcome to Cleveland (again), Kyle – must be incredible to make your Browns’ dream come true.
And Kalis is fighting hard to win that spot, the way he was raised to do.
Born to play ball
His father is Todd Kalis, who played for eight years in the NFL as an offensive lineman on the Vikings, Steelers and Bengals.
A young Kyle found early football success by making the Seneca Valley High School varsity football team in Harmony, Pennsylvania as a freshman. Then, after moving to Lakewood, Ohio as a sophomore to live with his mother, Stephanie Garvin Schwarz, Kalis played varsity football for St. Edward. By his senior year in 2011, Kyle was selected by Sports Illustrated as one of five offensive linemen for its high school football All-American first team.
And the colleges came knocking.
Rated a five-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, Kalis graduated as one of the top-rated recruits in 2012. Though he had already committed earlier to Ohio State in September 2010, Kalis eventually switched to Michigan once the infamous “memorabilia-for-gifts” scandal took place that caused then OSU head coach Jim Tressel to resign.
A second-team All-American at Michigan, Kalis went undrafted in 2017 but was eventually signed by the Washington Redskins, the Indianapolis Colts and finally the Cleveland Browns to play in their practice squads.
After beginning last season on the Browns practice squad, Kalis was finally signed to their active roster on December 1, 2018 when he played in 3 games and had zero penalties.
Time to step up
Now Kalis finds himself as a legitimate contender in the fight for the Browns’ starting right guard position, though his competition is absolutely worthy.
Corbett played in eleven Browns games last season and did not record a penalty. He was also given the first opportunity in the competition.
Kush played in 15 games in 2018 for the Chicago Bears, started in seven of those, recovered a fumble and had two penalties.
That’s some decent experience Kalis is competing with, but if the Lakewood Kid can prove to be at least as talented as those other two front-runners, there are a couple of advantages he brings to the table.
For one, he is versatile, having had past experience playing at guard, center and tackle, which is the type of positional flexibility that has always been highly valued in the NFL.
When Zegura asks Kalis if having played at center – considered the quarterback of the offensive line – gives him an advantage at guard, Kalis agrees that it forces him to see a bigger picture:
"“Playing center has definitely been kinda nice to advance the learning curve…you don’t have a choice other than to go home at the end of the day and you have to get into your [play] book…and make your notes.”"
The price is right
The other advantage Kalis brings is his relatively low cost.
While Corbett is in the second year of his four-year rookie contract that’s worth $7.57 million and Kush has signed a one-year deal worth $3.75 million, let’s just say that Kalis is, ahem, slightly more affordable.
Kalis stands to make ‘just’ $645K this season.
Usually you get what you pay for, but on rare occasions (like hopefully in Kalis’ case), you find a gem buried deep in those practice squad rosters who is talented enough to step up and crash pads with the big boys. And in this case, to help keep franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield safe and to create holes for second-year running back Nick Chubb to break records through.
Kalis is convinced he knows how to get that done:
"“I’m just trying to make every day count and get better at something every day and just don’t take anything for granted…consistently good is what they’re looking for, so I gotta just keep doing that.”"
How surreal would it be to have a likable hometowner like Kalis make this 2019 Cleveland Browns team.
Best of luck, Kyle.