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Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

Lichtensteiger weighs in on OL switch

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Great, or at least very good offensive linemen are a key to any football team’s success and four NFL teams used high draft choices on players they hope will solidify things up front.

Those teams – the New York Giants selected Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 overall pick, while the Cleveland Browns picked Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. at No. 10. The New York Jets followed with Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton at No. 11 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Iowa Tristan Wirfs at No. 13.

Kory Lichtensteiger knows a thing or two about playing offensive line in the NFL. File photo

Of the four, the 6-5, 320 pound Wills played right tackle for the Crimson Tide, but is expected to fill a gaping hole by shifting to left tackle for the Browns. The others saw time at right and left tackle in college.

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry is on record as saying “tackles are tackles”, while Alabama head coach Nick Saban said a successful switch is very possible, but not a guarantee.

“I do think he has all the physical attributes, the athleticism to be the kind of pass blocker you need to be on that side of the line,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban told the website saturdaydownsouth.com. “But I don’t know how he’ll transition. Nobody knows how anybody will. But I just know he’s capable, he’s smart enough and I think it will just be him getting enough repetitions that he develops a comfort zone.”

Van Wert County’s Kory Lichtensteiger knows a thing or two about the rigors of the offensive line.

After graduating from Crestview High School, he lettered at Bowling Green State University from 2004-2007. While a member of the Falcons, Lichtensteiger played guard, then center, before embarking on an NFL career from 2008-2016, most notably playing guard and center with the Washington Redskins.

When asked about making a switch for the pros, he echoed some of Saban’s thoughts.

“I’m sure they can make the transition between right and left given the proper time and reps,” Lichtensteiger said. “Getting those reps is going to be the challenge given the current situation.”

“First rounders are often cut from a different cloth physically and athletically,” he continued. “They should be able to make that adjustment very quickly, but it’s never a guarantee.”

Wills is expected to be an opening day starter in Cleveland, with the others not far behind.

POSTED: 04/28/20 at 3:53 am. FILED UNDER: Sports