Browns select California OT Schwartz

BEREA, Ohio - Mitchell Schwartz has much more experience playing left offensive tackle.

Sorry, rook. The Cleveland Browns are all set there.

One day after selecting running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Browns picked someone to block for their precious first-round picks, selecting Schwartz, a massive tackle from California, in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.

Schwartz made 51 starts -- 35 at left tackle and 16 at right -- in four years for the Golden Bears. The Browns have five-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas on the left side, so Schwartz will slide to the right.

"I'm comfortable doing either," Schwartz said on a conference call. "But Cleveland obviously has probably the best left tackle in the game so I can understand my role."

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Schwartz will help open holes for Richardson and keep defenders off Weeden, who were introduced to the Cleveland media earlier in the day.

Although they need a wide receiver and may address that with their third-round pick, the Browns decided to fill their opening on the line. Schwartz will fill the starting spot vacated by Tony Pashos, who was let go last month after playing all season with a torn foot tendon. Schwartz has strong bloodlines. His brother, Geoff, plays for the Minnesota Vikings.

Schwartz said following his brother into the league has its benefits.

"I got really lucky having an older brother who has been through the whole process already," he said, speaking over the phone from his home in Los Angeles. "Coming out of high school I knew what to expect with recruiting and now going into the NFL, I have a pretty good understanding of what to expect.

"He's kind of been there and done that and I can learn a little bit from mistakes. It definitely gives me a little bit of a leg up."

Schwartz played two seasons at Cal with Browns center Alex Mack.

Meanwhile, Richardson and Weeden arrived in Cleveland as new teammates. The college stars had been together at the Browns' facility for their pre-draft visit, not knowing they would be reunited after the team made bold moves to select them in the first round to usher in a new era of football along Lake Erie.

After posing for photos with Browns coach Pat Shurmur, Richardson discussed his plans to become the next great running back in Cleveland's rich history.

Although Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown described him as "ordinary" before the draft, Richardson, who went to the same Florida high school as another Hall of Famer, Emmitt Smith, said he aspires for greatness.

"I can be one of those guys who you can mention my name with Emmitt Smith, or Marshall Faulk or all of those great guys," Richardson said. "Even the great Jim Brown, when it comes down to it. There is only one thing you can take to the grave with you, and that's your last name. How your name is remembered, that's on you."

Richardson recalled his struggles on the way to starring at Alabama. He overcame two severe ankle injuries early in high school that jeopardized his career, and avoided other temptations. The stout, 5-foot-9 Richardson talked about how his young daughters, 5-year-old Taliyah and 3-year-old Elevera, have motivated him to be a better man and player.

"I had two screws in both my ankles and I didn't know where my life was going to be," he said. "I had my first child when I was a sophomore in high school, so it was going to be either I hung around a wrong crowd, which I wasn't raised that way, and try to get fast money. Or, I could go make something out of myself and go be a grown man and handle my responsibilities. I stood up to the plate and my little girls are happy now."

The 28-year-old Weeden called it "an honor" to be selected by the Browns, who nabbed the Oklahoma State QB at No. 22 and intend to make him their starter.

Weeden was as poised answering questions as he appears to be in the pocket. It all comes naturally to the former baseball pitcher, who was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2002 but never made it out of the low minor leagues.

It was while playing for High Desert (A) in 2006, when Weeden realized baseball was not going to pay the bills.

"The worst experience of my life," he said. "The wind blew out about 55 miles per hour every night and I gave up three broken-bat home runs. My ERA was like something astronomical, something like a 5.60. I said, `You know what? It's not going to happen. I am not going to make it.' So I came home."

He told his wife, Melanie, he wanted to go back to college -- and play football.

"She was like, `Are you crazy?' and I said, `No, absolutely not. Let's do it.' I knew that I didn't want to be a guy who spent 10 years in the minor leagues. I wanted to give it a shot and if it didn't work out, I knew this is what I wanted to do."

Now that Weeden's in Cleveland, it may not be long before incumbent starter Colt McCoy is not.

The Browns have had internal discussions about trading McCoy. However, Shurmur insisted the team has not called any prospective teams

about a deal for McCoy, who went 6-15 in two inconsistent seasons.

"We haven't made any plans to do anything about anything yet," he said. "We haven't made any phone calls, we haven't done anything in regards to Colt."

Shurmur said he spoke to McCoy, who was making a planned trip this weekend to Dallas, where he has family.

"He's fine," Shurmur said.

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