University of Nevada's Joel Bitonio Drafted by Cleveland Browns
Nevada Release 5/9/2014
Offensive lineman Joel Bitonio became Nevada’s second-highest pick in the modern era of the NFL Draft on Friday as the Cleveland Browns selected him with the third pick of the second round, No. 35 overall.
One of the best offensive linemen to play at Nevada, Bitonio was a first-team All-Mountain West selection in 2013 and a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Wolf Pack. He is the 10th Nevada player selected in the last four years and 44th Pack player to ever by drafted in the NFL.
“I am thrilled for Joel Bitonio and his family for being selected with the 35th pick in the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns,” Nevada coach Brian Polian said. “Joel is everything we want a Nevada Wolf Pack football player to be and I have no doubt that he will represent our University in a first-class manner for years to come.
“Having spent a great deal of time in Cleveland and knowing the passion that the community has for the Browns, I don’t think they could have found a better fit for their organization. Joel epitomizes everything that Cleveland and Northern Ohio stand for – humility, work ethic, loyalty and toughness. This a great fit for both Joel and the Browns. Congrats to them both!”
Bitonio is second Nevada player ever picked by Cleveland. The other was James-Michael Johnson, who went two years ago and is now in Kansas City.
Bitonio is first Nevada offensive lineman drafted since Tony Moll went in the fifth round in 2006 to the Green Bay Packers.
Immediately after the selection, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said: "This guy is going to bring a tone-setting mentality.”
A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Bitonio graduated from Long Beach Wilson High School. He redshirted the 2009 season and played every game of the 2010 “Dream Team” season as key reserve on the offensive line. He made his first career start in the 2011 opener at Oregon and went on to start 38 games in a row for the Wolf Pack.
He graduated in December with a degree in economics and was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award. He was a multi-year selection to the academic all-conference team and just last month was named to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society – one of just five players from the Mountain West conference to earn that distinction.
While Nevada has never had a first-round pick in modern era, it now has three second-rounder. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick went No. 36 overall in 2011. Wideout Alex Van Dyke remains the highest draft pick in the modern era at No. 31 overall by the New York Jets in 1996.