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Cleveland Browns

Draft lovers' delight

By Marla Ridenour Published: November 23, 2007

Browns fans who were thrilled the team used the third overall pick on Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas should have a better idea of how the rookie is coming along after Sunday's home game against Houston. Thomas will line up against Mario Williams, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft.

Browns coach Romeo Crennel seemed confident about how Thomas will fare.

''Joe has faced some pretty good guys already this year,'' Crennel said. ''Because this is still his rookie year, every game is a test for him to see how he can hold up and how he can handle the situation. At this point we feel a little better about him being able to handle the situation than maybe at the first game of the year. We have confidence in what he can do and we think he will represent himself well.''

Thomas loves going against the league's best, so facing Williams doesn't faze him. Williams comes in tied for the team lead with five sacks, along with 29 tackles, five quarterback pressures, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

''Every week is a fun week, it's another great challenge,'' Thomas said. ''Being the No. 1 pick from last year, there's a lot of things he does well. He's a big, strong, physical guy, good athlete. He moves around really well.''

Thomas said Williams will be on his side for most of the game.

''It looks like on third and long they put him over the right tackle,'' Thomas said.

Browns right tackle Kevin Shaffer has been limited in practice with a knee injury. So when Williams moves, Cleveland could shift Thomas to the right side, as he's done already this season.


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