For the second year in a row, Browns’ offensive guard Joel Bitonio was named as an AP All-Pro as selected by a panel of 50 media members.
Bitonio was announced as the second-team selection at left guard on Friday, and was one of the few bright spots of a much-maligned offensive line in Cleveland this season.
Quentin Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts earned 44 of the 50 votes cast for left guard, while Bitonio and Joe Thuney of the Patriots split the remaining six votes.
Nick Chubb’s two votes for running back and Joe Schobert’s one vote for linebacker were the only other votes cast for Browns players.
Neither was enough to land them on the first or second team.
G @JoelBitonio named a 2nd-team All-Pro 👏
📰 » https://t.co/BXvyT1oJIx pic.twitter.com/C2QDObmMe0
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 3, 2020
Before the NFL, Bitonio was a three-year starter at the University of Nevada, and first-team All-Mountain West Conference offensive lineman in his senior season.
Bitonio was an attractive prospect in the 2014 draft, and the Browns selected him in the second round that year.
As a Browns rookie in the 2014 season, Bitonio played impressively alongside future Hall-of-Famer Joe Thomas and perennial All-Pro Alex Mack on his way to a Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) All-Rookie Team selection.
Despite injury-plagued seasons in 2015 and 2016, the Browns demonstrated a vote of confidence in Bitonio with a five-year, $51 million contract extension before the 2017 season.
Bitonio validated the Browns’ trust by starting in all 48 games since the extension and earning AP All-Pro honors for the last two seasons.
A Dynamic OL Duo
Bitonio and fellow offensive line anchor J.C. Tretter were the only two Browns to play every offensive snap this season and were instrumental in clearing the path for running back Nick Chubb to finish the 2019 campaign as the NFL rushing title runner-up with 1,494 yards.
In a recent interview with ClevelandBrowns.com, Bitonio alluded to his bond with Tretter, as the two have sought improvement from within the unit over the last three seasons.
“Me and JC, I feel like we’re connected. We know the lingo, we know how each other plays. I feel like we’re pretty connected. We’ve done it for the last three years, almost 48 games now. Plus preseason, plus camp. I don’t worry about that. I know he gets beat up but I know he’ll be ready. Mentally, he’s so sharp and he does everything in the meeting rooms so that he’ll be ready to go on game day.” – Joel Bitonio
If the Browns are going to launch a turnaround in 2020, Bitonio and Tretter will need to continue providing veteran leadership to an offensive line that is in desperate need of fresh talent from a healthy crop of prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.
A Foundation for the Future
The Browns will certainly look to bolster the Offensive Tackle position through the draft and it will be critical for Bitonio and Tretter to find chemistry amongst a collection of potential new faces in 2020.
Especially with an impending new coaching regime that will likely mean a third offensive line coach in three seasons.
While Chubb’s success in running the ball was a credit to solid run blocking by the Browns this season, the pass protection for Baker Mayfield must improve drastically.
But entering the fourth year of his extended contract, Joel Bitonio is in the prime of his NFL career and a shining star within the Browns’ organization.
Congratulations Joel, and we won’t be the least bit surprised to see you honored with a third consecutive All-Pro designation next year.
That’s awesome news! I’m glad he was selected again, you wouldn’t find someone more deserving in my opinion. 🙂
Andy Durham says
Great player and a great guy. Well-deserved.