Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nevada Wolfpack offensive lineman Joel Bitonio speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Bitonio, OL: Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Report


Nevada Wolfpack offensive lineman Joel Bitonio Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

 

Like quite a few of offensive tackles in this draft, Joel Bitonio is strong, fast and undersized. The former Nevada standout earns his street cred through tenacity, work ethic and leadership, which can go a long way in the NFL if put in the right situation. His draft stock was boosted by solid performances at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

From NFL.com:

STRENGTHS

Plays with vinegar and seeks to bury defenders — nasty finisher who runs his feet on contact and consistently blocks defenders off the screen. Extremely tough and durable. Highly versatile — can play any position on the line. Outstanding personal character and football character — work ethic, leadership and responsibility are all exemplary.

WEAKNESSES

Tends to shoot his hands wide and needs to improve placement — too grabby. Slips off blocks and could stand to play more under control. Operated heavily out of a 2-point stance and might need to get acclimated to playing with his hand in the dirt. Average knee bend in pass protection.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Rounds 2-3

Rarely does NFL.com’s evaluations mesh with CBSSports.com‘s, but the latter also projects him to be a second round pick.
From CBS:
Competitive. Doesn’t give up on the play, even if beaten initially. Handled top competition when given the opportunity, including in one-on-one matchups against UCLA’s Anthony Barr….Doesn’t possess the ideal length or build to remain at left tackle in the NFL and may be best served moving inside to guard – a position he never played at Nevada. Appears to have shorter-than-ideal arms, an issue that explains why Bitonio occasionally falls off blocks or is beaten with an effective over-arm swim move.
Here’s a video of his Combine performance via YouTube:

How he fits in with the Chiefs: Bitonio has “Solid Depth” written all over him. He’s a scrappy mauler, hard worker and team player, making the most of his somewhat limited abilities. If this was the 1930′s I’d say he had a lot of moxy.
Bitonio is the kind of player that will go somewhere as a back up, get a chance to start due to injury, then force the powers that be make a tough choice about benching him. I’d love to see him compete for a spot in Andy Reid’s system, but since the Chiefs don’t currently possess a second round pick, they may just have to look elsewhere. 
For more scouting reports on offensive linemen in the 2014 NFL Draft, just click here.

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