August 28, 2014

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns take Nevada OL Joel Bitonio in 2nd round

Joel Bitonio

Joel Bitonio

BEREA — Despite possibly losing their star wide receiver for the 2014 season, the Browns stayed the course during Day 2 of the NFL Draft tonight.

Cleveland selected offensive tackle Joel Bitonio out of Nevada with the 35th pick to strengthen its offensive line. He was taken with the third pick of the second round.

The Browns were handed some sobering news less than an hour before the second round began. Josh Gordon, who led the league in receiving last season, is facing an indefinite suspension for a positive drug test for marijuana, according to an ESPN report.

Bitonio is 6-foot-4, 302 pounds and started all 38 games at Nevada from 2011-13. He redshirted in 2009 and was a reserve and special teams player his freshman year, playing 14 games in 2010.

Bitonio played left tackle at Nevada, but is expected to play right tackle or guard for the Browns with Pro Bowler Joe Thomas manning left tackle.

The Browns have five picks left, including No. 71 in the third round, and were expected to take a receiver even before the Gordon news.

“He’s one of the best linemen in the NFL and just having someone like that is going to be a great benefit, having a mentor on and off the field on an everyday basis,” Bitonio said of Thomas.

Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.