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Training Camp

Browns know Austin Corbett's best ability is his versatility

Austin Corbett's value to the Browns is his versatility. It's why they won't pigeonhole the rookie offensive lineman into any one spot quite yet with training camp underway.

Inside, outside or smack dab in the middle, Cleveland envisions Corbett — the 33rd overall pick in this past spring's NFL Draft — being able to do it all. And the Browns won't rush the process of figuring out where the youngster best fits. 

"I think he's an offensive lineman who has versatility who can play on the edge and can play inside," head coach Hue Jackson said, "and we're going to find out where the best place to play him once we put these pads on."

To be certain, Corbett remains a candidate be Joe Thomas' heir at left tackle. Cleveland has yet to replace Thomas, the 10-time Pro Bowler who retired in March after 11 seasons, and there's no question it remains one of the team's top priorities.

Corbett, who played left tackle all four years at Nevada, would welcome the chance to try to fill those massive shoes. But most of all, he's open to whatever the coaching staff needs from him. "I have gotten reps at both left guard and left tackle. Right now, we're just trying to figure out the spot where I am going to end up," he said Saturday. "Whatever the team asks me to do – whether it is the left side, or even the right side – that is where I am going to work at. Just getting a position figured out."

After all, Corbett is still sort of pinching himself as the Browns prepare for their third day of camp. A former walk-on (and, briefly, teammate of left guard Joel Bitonio) in Reno, it's still all a dream come true for the 22-year-old. "I have an opportunity to play in the NFL," he said. "There are only five positions, so I'm very content just being on the line."

Bitonio, who has stepped into the leadership role vacated by Thomas, said he's been encouraged by Corbett's acclimation at the next level. The youngster, however, is still working through some kinks after solely playing on the perimeter. 

"It's different for sure, you know? I think things happen a lot faster inside. You have to get used to quicker bull rushes, quicker moves, a little more double teams on the inside and stuff like that," he said. "It's more your footwork game, and not stepping on each other since you're kind of not on an island as much. He's been doing a good job so far, and I know they're going to move him around a little bit today so he'll be getting reps everywhere."

Earlier this week, Thomas — who has dipped his toe into a role with the news media — told that Corbett might be better suited to play guard at the next level. 

Corbett embraced the feedback, eager to let the process play itself out. 

"He obviously has a lot more of experience in the NFL than I do, he's a walking Hall of Famer – to hear that, and having him out here during OTAs and being with him and just to hear his feedback," he said. 

"At the same time, I don't know what I can do in the NFL. I haven't played a down yet. Wherever I can end up, whatever the coaches ask me to do, that's what I'm going to do. Just try to be my best. I respect his opinion greatly and I enjoyed working with him as much as we did in OTAs. Training camp, it's time to find out what I can actually do here in the NFL."

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