Joel Bitonio, LT, Nevada, (HT: 6'4¼"; WT: 302 lbs)
Second Round: 35th Pick
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- One of the Mountain West Conference's best 2013 offensive linemen.
- Exceedingly smart, hardworking and tough-nosed player.
- Exhibits great motor and enthusiasm for fundamentally executing assignments.
- Better-than-average feet and swivel through the hips.
- Recognizes unanticipated pressure from the defense with keen awareness.
- Shows rhythmic, methodical pacing in kicks and slides that seems very natural.
- Above-average lateral agility.
- Ran the third-best short shuttle and three-cone times among offensive linemen participating at the NFL combine.
- Displays a great burst upfield and exceptional quickness to the second level of the defense.
- Sneaky-athletic player who was consistently dominant against Mountain West Conference competition.
- Tied for the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash of offensive linemen tested at the 2014 combine.
- Had the second-highest vertical leap of all offensive linemen in Indy and the second-longest broad jump.
- Generally very balanced and sturdy in pass protection; sits into his base soundly and punches.
- Showed during the week of Senior Bowl practices that he is clearly capable of handling elite FBS-level edge presences efficiently.
- Rarely if ever flashed badly or appeared out of place during his week in Mobile.
- Dedicated student as a major in civil engineering per the Nevada Athletic Department.
- Does not look like a terrific athlete in person by the eyeball test.
- Lacks ideal size for an NFL offensive tackle and physically looks a lot more like a guard prospect.
- Appeared soft and "sloppy" per RosterWatch (free signup required) at the 2014 Senior Bowl weigh-in.
- Plays with a shocking lack of length as the player who measured with the 10th-longest arms at the combine.
- Appears to lose balance and lunge in pass protection at times when anticipating pressure; a victim of his own football I.Q.
- Can get out of control in downfield pursuit and lose positioning; goes to the ground too much.
- Lacks superior upper-body strength.
- Shows only average power with his leg drive and and is not a player who will dominate with his sheer strength.
- Hard to project as a surefire guard prospect when ability to handle penetrating 3-technique opposition from the position is largely unknown.
- Put up a very disappointing 22 reps on the bench press in Indianapolis, tied for the third-worst number among offensive line prospects in attendance.
- While quick to the second level of the defense, can take extremely bad angles at athletic linebackers and miss blocks.
- Seems to lack great coordination in redirecting conversion moves of opposing pass-rushers.
Personal Notes (via Nevada Athletic Department)
- Born Joel Michael Bitonio on Oct. 11, 1991 in San Pedro, Calif.
- Son of Debbie and the late Mike Bitonio.
- Has an older sister, Katie, and a younger brother, Lucas.
- Is majoring in civil engineering.
- Sports hero is Kobe Bryant.
- Chose Nevada because of the direction of the program, the atmosphere and the academic reputation of the school.
- Was also recruited by Fresno State and San Jose State, among others.
- Enjoys playing basketball, watching movies, listening to music and going to the beach in his free time.
Bitonio is the type of player NFL scouts love, because they'll generally feel like they'll know exactly what they are getting in him. Bitonio put a number of great things on film through his 2013 season. He then went on to the Senior Bowl, where he was one of the most impressive and consistent offensive linemen in attendance.
Bitonio's outstanding combine "checked a lot of boxes" (as NFL Network's Mike Mayock would say) in the minds of evaluators, as Bitonio proved himself one of the event's most explosive big men outside of the bench press.
In Bitonio, teams will see a smart, tough player who is dedicated to his craft and whose game exudes effort. In an annual prospecting process that comes with no "sure things," steady, smart and athletic players through the offensive line positions are clearly coveted.
Bitonio will be drafted earlier than most expect, and will be taken by an NFL club that plans on utilizing his services immediately. Bitonio projects to enter the NFL fold as an offensive guard, but he could optimistically project to bump outside to tackle. Bitonio's footwork, speed, rhythm and pacing put together with better use of his great length and a little NFL coaching should yield positive benefits for years to come.
Draft Projection: 2nd Round
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