If there is one player on the Cleveland Browns that deserves some major props on the season, it is rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. The second round pick from the University of California did an exceptional job starting for the Browns this season.
For an offensive lineman, when your not talked about, that is a good thing. After the first couple of games, Schwartz was pretty much forgotten about as the season progressed. Again, this was a good thing.
Game after game, Schwartz took on some of the NFL‘s best pass rushers and kept them quiet. Towards the middle of the season, running to the right became more realistic as Schwartz was able to create some openings. Rookie first round draft pick Trent Richardson came just 50 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing. Richardson did miss the final game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With help from Schwartz, TRich did rush for 11 touchdowns.
In his rookie season, from day one of training camp, Schwartz played every first team snap to starting all 16 regular season games. Six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas took Schwartz under his wing and helped him become one of the most consistent lineman rookies this year. Thomas himself committed more penalties than Schwartz in the season.
Without question, Schwartz is the unsung hero of this Browns team. When many experts and analysts thought Cleveland “reached” for Schwartz in the second round, all the Browns did was prove them wrong by solidifying the right tackle position for the next ten years. In fact, three of the five offensive line positions (Thomas, Schwartz, and Alex Mack) are set for years to come. The Browns now need to look for offensive guards in the draft or free agency in 2013.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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