The Cleveland Browns addressed both the offensive and defensive lines with their two selections in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Browns drafted defensive end Armonty Bryant out of East Central (Oklahoma) University at No. 217, and followed it up 10 picks later with offensive tackle Garrett Gilkey from Chadron State with No. 227.
Bryant comes to the Browns after having 17.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks for 79 lost yards in 2012. He also recovered two fumbles, forced four others and blocked a pair of kicks in just eight games for the Tigers.
“What I bring to the table is just a relentless attitude,” Bryant said. “I want to get to the quarterback. I want to make a big play. I feel like I’m that guy that you can just really count on. I want to be that person when we’re in a hard situation, a sticky situation, you can come to me, pull me aside and say, ‘We need this.’ I feel I can be that guy that goes out there and delivers.”
For Division II Chadron State, Gilkey blocked for a team that rushed for 2,110 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games last fall. He was part of an offense that scored for 33.8 points and gained 411.5 yards of total offense per game.
“I’m very excited about it,” Gilkey said of the move up in competition. “It allows me to really reach the potential I want to reach. Being in Division II, it’s different competition. It’s a step up. I’m very excited about it. I think it’s been a knock on me for a while because of my competition level. I have a chip on my shoulder and I’m excited to help get the Browns to a Super Bowl.”
Both Bryant and Gilkey have made it through adverse situations in order to make it to the NFL. Bryant had an arrest for marijuana possession, and Gilkey has overcome both a heart ailment as a high-school freshman and an appendicitis during his junior year at Chadron State.
“Going into my freshman of high school, I had a heart operation,” Gilkey said. “I had a cardiac oblation to fix my condition, but it prevented me from participating in any sports my freshman year. I actually had a rough year. I got bullied severely and my parents moved me. With my appendicitis my junior year, three hours before my first game in North Dakota, I had it. I walked into my junior year knowing that I had to go lights out and play very well, and it was hard to bounce back from that. I was out the first two games, but I bounced back well.”
“Good people make mistakes,” Bryant said. “I’ve always been told that by my head coach. I feel like it was just a stupid move on my part. I should’ve been more mature about the situation and being focused on football. Now that I’ve got that second chance, I feel like I won’t let anyone down. I won’t let myself down; I won’t let anyone around me down, and I won’t let the Cleveland Browns down.”