Schwartz has been learning what it takes to play right tackle in the West Coast offense and adjusting to the speed of the professional game since becoming the Browns’ second-round pick out of the University of California-Berkeley in April’s NFL Draft. Schwartz completed the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday afternoon and will participate as the team finishes its 2012 offseason workouts with four OTA sessions next Tuesday through Friday.
“There’s a lot of really good competition out here,” Schwartz said. “You’ve got a lot of great guys on defense that you’re going against and I think you can see the whole offense going on a progression. Something I pride myself on is not making mental mistakes out there. I think the coaches can trust you’re going to be in the right spot when you need to be there. It’s part of being a good teammate; it’s part of being a good player on the field.”
Schwartz, whose older brother also played in the National Football League, has studied his craft and figures the little things will make a big difference on the field.
“Coming in and being mentally prepared, it’s picking up the stuff that takes no talent to pick up,” Schwartz said. “It’s doing the things you’re supposed to be doing, where am I supposed to be on this play and who do I have? It’s all the stuff that make the coaches trust you, make the guy playing next to you trust you. If you’re good with that, then, you can clean up technique later.”
Schwartz’s effort and ability have caught the attention of the team’s five-time Pro Bowl left tackle,
“I’ve been very impressed with Mitchell,” Thomas said. “He’s a guy that takes it very seriously. It’s important to him. He’s a guy who’s a technician, very smart and I think he’s got everything you need in a right tackle. The way he picks up the offense and the nuances on the calls, he’s in the meeting room already making calls and answering questions that frankly, as a rookie, I’m kind of surprised he knows the answers to.”
The veteran left tackle sees a lot of himself in Schwartz.
“Technique was huge,” Thomas said of his rookie season in 2007. “I think the studying, the way he is a smart player, those are all very important things and I think those were the things that were important to me. I think those are the things that are important to Mitchell.”
Whether it is on the field or in the meeting rooms, Schwartz has taken any and all opportunities to learn from Thomas. He has enjoyed not only the learning process, but the competition he gets every day in practice from left defensive end
Sheard proved to be difficult to block as a rookie in 2011. He registered 8.5 sacks, the second-most ever by a Browns rookie, and was also among the league leaders with five forced fumbles.
“One of the best things is you go against a guy like that who’s one of the better pass-rushers and it gets you ready for the guys you’re going to face during the season,” Schwartz said. “That goes back to the competition thing.”