Young's got a shot

The Cleveland Browns have such a solid young offensive line that they didn't spend a single pick in the recent NFL Draft on blockers.

That could give former Tennessee Vol Eric Young a better shot to make the team.

Young started two games as a sophomore, all 13 as a junior and the first eight as a senior before suffering a quadriceps injury that sidelined him for he final six games of 2007.

Young's injury and his reputation as an underachiever caused him to go unselected in the recent NFL Draft. The Browns were quick to sign him to a free-agent deal, however, shortly after the draft concluded.

A 6-4, 305-pounder from Union, S.C., Young played tackle for the Vols but projects as a combo guard/tackle in the pros.

His best chance with the Browns may be at guard because the team appears set at tackle. Joe Thomas, the third player picked in the 2007 NFL Draft, started every game as a rookie last fall. The Browns' tackle corps also includes Kevin Shaffer (63 starts over the past four years) and 11-year veteran Ryan Tucker (nine starts in 2006 and eight in '07.

Cleveland is considerably less settled at guard. Eric Steinbach has 78 career starts in five years and Seth McKinney has 42 career starts to show for his first six years in the NFL. Lennie Friedman is a 10-year veteran but he started just two games in the past three seasons. Isaac Sowells has played in just one game in two pro seasons. Marvin Philip spent the past two years on the Steelers' practice squad.

To shore up their guard ranks, the Browns recently signed former Dolphin Rex Hadnot (who started every game in '05, '06 and '07) as an unrestricted free agent. In addition to Young, Cleveland also signed two more rookie free agents – Nate Bennett of Clemson and James Lee of South Carolina State.

Young was known throughout his UT career as a guy whose production never lived up to his potential. If he can fix that problem, he has a very legitimate chance to stick with the Browns.


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