Browns' Cameron Erving to get shot at open right tackle job

PHOENIX -- During the middle of his session with reporters Tuesday at the NFL's Annual Meeting, Hue Jackson started rattling off the numerous additions and moves designed to shore up the middle of the offensive line.

Left guard Joel Bitonio re-signed, and Jackson made it clear he envisions Bitonio as the team's left guard of the future. Green Bay center JC Tretter was signed on the first day of free agency, and Jackson plans to play him at center. San Francisco center Marcus Martin was claimed off waivers. And Kevin Zeitler, one of the top free agents of the 2017 class, was signed to play right guard.

So what does it all mean for Cameron Erving, the third-year player who spent his rookie season at guard and most of 2016 at center?

"That we're going to stick him out at right tackle, see if he can compete and earn the right to be the starting right tackle for the Cleveland Browns," Jackson said.

Jackson didn't rule out the re-signing Austin Pasztor, who started 15 games at right tackle, but the coach was clear he viewed the position as open just a few weeks before offseason workouts get rolling. Erving is set to compete against Shon Coleman, a third-round pick from last year, and potentially Spencer Drango, a fifth-round pick who mostly played guard as a rookie.

Erving finished his second season at right tackle, as he landed the start in a season finale that was cut short by a knee injury. He was almost exclusively a center, though, in a position switch that "didn't work out as well as we would have liked," Jackson said.

"I really appreciated the player attempting to do what we asked him to do," Jackson said. "That's how we saw him and now things are different. Put him out at right tackle and give him an opportunity to do that. I think he has the skill set to do it, I think he has the desire to do it so we'll determine that as we go."

Erving has played all over the offensive line and even on the defensive side of it since he enrolled at Florida State. After a freshman season at defensive tackle, Erving came into his own as a left tackle and flourished as a sophomore and junior. He played the final few games of his senior season at center.

As a rookie with the Browns, Erving tried his hands at both guard spots because that's where there was potential for playing time. In 2016, he shifted to center and was unable to find a rhythm early in the season because of a bruised lung that kept him off the field for a month. Rookie Anthony Fabiano started in place of Erving in the season finale.

Jackson said he asked Erving to come back bigger and stronger in 2017.

"He's very athletic," Jackson said. "We know Cam is very long. I think he loves football. I think he's willing to work. I think he wants go out there and play tackle."

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