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2014 NFL Draft: Transcript of second-round pick Joel Bitonio's teleconference with reporters

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns selected Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio with the No. 35 overall pick in the second round Friday night. 

Here's a transcript of his teleconference with reporters:


On what position best suits him in the NFL: 

“I haven't played in the NFL so I can't really be sure, but I know the last five years I've been playing tackle. I would say I'm most used to that position right now, but any position that the team wants me to play, I'll be ready to go and I'll learn that position well.”


On his style of play and a perceived ‘mean streak’:

“I like to play hard. Football is played to the whistle and you have to play as hard as you can every snap. If you can play that hard every play, then there's a good chance that if you're equally talented and use your technique well, you'll be able to beat the guy you're going against. I want to play as hard as I possibly can. I know the AFC North is a tough, hard-nosed division, and I hope I can a little bit of that to the team.”


On if he received any indication that the Browns were targeting him:

“I've talked to a lot of teams. I talked to the Browns at the Combine, but I had no idea until I got the phone call that I was going to be there. When you see a lineman go off the board, hopefully you want to see a run of lineman go so you can get drafted a little higher. I saw that and I was just excited when I got the phone call.”


On if he expects to start:

“I think I'm going to come in and compete as hard as I can, whatever the team needs me to do. If they need me to start, I'm going to go out there and compete and be ready to go. It just depends on what the team needs and what the situation is. I'm excited to get up to Cleveland and get ready to go.”


On the Browns drafting QB Johnny Manziel and the recent news on WR Josh Gordon:

“Obviously, I saw Johnny Manziel get drafted yesterday, and I’ve watched him throughout my college career. I think he’s a heck of a quarterback. Hopefully, he comes in and he’s ready to compete and just ready to work and do well for the Cleveland Browns. Regarding the other incident, it’s not my place to really talk about that. I really don’t know any of the details or anything like that so I’m not sure what exactly happened with that situation, but hopefully it works out for us, and hopefully, it’s not as serious as people say it is.” 


On his excitement to play with OL Joe Thomas:

“Following professional football, I know he’s one of the best linemen in the NFL, and just having someone like that is going to be a great benefit. As a mentor on and off the field and just watching him play on an everyday basis, being able to watch practice film and seeing what he does, I think that’s a great way to learn as a player. To see that these guys are great players in front of you and to see that and to be able to learn from him will be an amazing opportunity.”


On if his father was an MMA-style fighter:

“Yeah he was. Back in the day, he was in the original kind of MMA, bareknuckle brawling, stuff like that. He did a few big fights, but he kind of got out of it before UFC became popular and stuff like that.”


On if he picked up some traits from his dad:

“Yeah,he was tough as nails, man. He was just a hard worker, tough. In his other job, he laid carpet; he did flooring and flooring install. He was just a tough guy and he was always telling me, be mentally tough, be physically tough; no one is going to be able to outwork you. I think I take those traits to the football field, to the weight room, to classroom, and he was a huge inspiration in the way I play and just my attitude on the field.”


On if has tried the new MMA style:

“I stick to football. When I was a little kid growing up, I tried a little bit of stuff like that and we sparred a little bit, but I loved basketball and football when I was growing up so it wasn’t really for me.”


On playing against Vikings first-round pick LB Anthony Barr:

“He's a great player. He got picked in the top 10 last night. We played them in the first game this year. I just knew all year that this guy plays hard and he's a good pass rusher, and I need to be good with my technique and, like I’ve been saying the whole time, be good and play as hard as I can through the whistle. I felt like once I got my hands on him, I could stone him pretty well if I played until the whistle. It was a good game. He's a great pass rusher, and I think I played really well against him.”


On if he frustrated Barr in the matchup:

“I don’t know. He didn't say much on the field, if that’s what you’re asking me. He was a good competitor. I could sense he was a little bit frustrated with certain things, but it was also the way we were running the offense. He likes to chase things down; he likes to be open. We weren't letting that happen to him. We had me or a tight end or someone else try to block him every play, instead of letting him be the read or let him be the unblocked guy. We just tried to keep bodies on him. I think that frustrated him more so than just me individually.”


On if he was surprised that the Browns didn’t select a wide receiver 35th overall overall:

“I really had no idea. My agents and myself try not to guess too much where I was going to go. I knew I was in this range between 25-50 in the draft. That's what we thought. Every team could always use some o-lineman. When I got the call, I was really excited. I didn't know which way they were going to go. I didn't know if they were going to go receiver; I knew they needed some help on the line as well. I thought either one of those would be the positions of need they were going to draft this round.”


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