After using their first six picks in the 2013 NFL draft on defense, the Cleveland Browns finally looked to the offense with their final selection. And, of course, it's an offensive lineman.
It's no surprise that Cleveland looked to address its interior offensive line depth here. Shawn Lauvao hasn't shown much as a starter, and the position's depth is lacking. Garrett Gilkey could help there.
A tackle at Chadron State, Gilkey will move to guard in the NFL. His short arms and lack of athleticism make the move inevitable. Even at guard, Gilkey isn't a great athlete, and he needs to improve his footwork.
However, Gilkey is a strong developmental guard. At 6'6", 318 pounds, he's big and strong. He consistently overpowered defensive linemen and performed admirably at the Senior Bowl.
Perhaps more important than anything else, though, is Gilkey's attitude. He is the epitome of a mean offensive lineman. Gilkey attacks like few linemen do, and he holds nothing back.
On every play, Gilkey fights to get a push at the point of attack. This, along with his use of leverage and strength, make him a superb run-blocker.
Gilkey's biggest problem as a run-blocker is his tendency to overextend. He will lose his balance when lunging, and he struggles to regain it in time to make a usable block.
Gilkey is best utilized in a power-blocking scheme. He doesn't excel at the second level, and he's much better simply overpowering defenders at the point of attack.
In the future, Gilkey could start at guard for the Browns. Assuming Jason Pinkston is able to come back from a blood clot, Gilkey would likely replace Lauvao at right guard.
It is impossible to say how well Gilkey will adjust to guard, but he has a legitimate chance to make the roster as a rookie. As a worst-case scenario, Gilkey seems like a fit for the Browns' practice squad.
Do not, however, expect Gilkey to play as a rookie except in the case of injury. Pinkston, Lauvao and John Greco will all start out ahead of him on the depth chart.
If he does play as a rookie, Gilkey will struggle. His feet aren't good enough to handle the quickness of NFL defensive tackles, and he still has the issue of overextending to deal with in the run game. Any early playing time would end badly.
Like the majority of Cleveland's draft, this pick is about the future. Gilkey could be a starter down the line, and he's a talented player in the seventh round. He will not contribute as a rookie.
And the Browns know that. They are simply hoping Gilkey can help down the line, and he just might be able to do that.
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