Sowells Pick Barely Changes Trend

For six years, the Cleveland Browns refused to spend more than a sixth-round pick for an offensive guard or offensive tackle. The results of that policy showed as the team struggled offensively. In 2006, the approach looked certain to change, but the selection of Indiana lineman Isaac Sowells barely changed tweaked the trend...

No portion of the Browns was more neglected than the offensive line during the first seven years of the expansion era. That changed slightly this year when they took Isaac Sowells from Indiana in the fourth round.

It was the first time in eight drafts the Browns took a guard or tackle higher than the sixth round. They passed on more highly rated players in the first three rounds, specifically Max Jean-Gilles of Georgia. They could have drafted him in the third round but instead drafted Oklahoma receiver Travis Wilson.

Wilson could play this season and might even start because Braylon Edwards is not expected to be ready until October or November. The Browns are looking as Sowells as a down-the-road player because Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman are established at guard.

"Isaac Sowells played left tackle at Indiana," general manager Phil Savage said. "He really improved as time went along. We see him as a guard. He doesn't have the height to play left tackle (he is 6-3) at the pro level, but we think he could be very athletic at guard.

"We're hoping going into 2007 to take one of those guard positions. We think his athleticism and size (324 pounds) could be a good fit there."

Coleman is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed as a free agent last year. Andruzzi is signed through 2008. Both veterans had injury problems last season.

The attention given the offensive line by the Savage-Romeo Crennel leadership is strikingly different than that of regimes that preceded them. In just two years, 80 percent of the line has been rebuilt. The only holdover from the Butch Davis days is right tackle Ryan Tucker.

Coleman and Andruzzi were free agent-signees last season, both secured within the first four days of the signing period. This year center LeCharles Bentley and left tackle Kevin Shaffer were signed on the first day of free agency.

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