The Cleveland Browns evaluated former Kent State University defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen during the pre-draft process and when he became available after being waived by the Baltimore Ravens following training camp in August, the team put in a claim for him. One day after being waived by the Ravens, Kitchen was on the Browns’ roster.
Since that time, Kitchen has registered 18 total tackles, including seven solo stops and 11 assists, in 14 games this season. Due to a calf injury suffered in practice, Kitchen was inactive for last week’s loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“We picked him up and I didn’t know much about him, but we got a bunch of screams from Baltimore, like, ‘Gosh darn it, we hoped that we could’ve gotten him back,’” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “We watched him play and he’s given us some good snaps. We think he’s a fine football player that’s going to develop into a player more than he’s been this year.”
Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron added, “We had looked at him as a free agent and liked him. We were moving toward him after last year’s draft, and then, when he became available to us from Baltimore, we knew a little bit about him. Our personnel department knew a good deal about him.”
Jauron has been impressed by Kitchen, who has been able to rotate into the lineup at defensive tackle with fellow rookies
“We like big, stout people inside, and that’s what he is,” Jauron said. “He’s a tough guy. He can hold the point against a double team. He can play his gap and control it. He’s a good guy, fits our room well. He’s a good teammate. I do think he’s another one of those younger guys that will contribute in the future and be a steady player, maybe work into a starting role, but at the very least, be a 15-30 snap-a-game player.”
When asked if Kitchen could develop into a pass rushing defensive tackle, Jauron said the first-year lineman would use his strength to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
“He’s a powerful man, so he can push the pocket, and if he gets on the edge of a defender, he can definitely beat him,” Jauron said. “He’s not a small defensive tackle. He’s not a three-technique, up-the-field pass rusher. He’ll be a bull rusher and then, move off the power rush. I think he’ll be good at it. I really like him. I like the man. He’s a really hard worker. He’s a quiet guy and he’s a tough guy, so he has all the things it takes to be a defensive lineman in this league.”