According to an article by Pat McManamon from March 30th there probably isn’t anyone on the Browns working harder this off-season than offensive lineman Jason Pinkston. Pinkston is headed into his sophomore season as an NFL player after being selected by the Browns in the fifth round of the NFL draft. He was thrust into a starting position as a rookie when Eric Steinbach went under the knife for back surgery. After an uneven but overall promising first year, how does Pinkston respond? He jumps into training with LeCharles Bentley where the workouts are hard, the training is unpredictable and comprehensive to even include diet. Is this just a guy working to get better at guard, or is Pinkston readying himself for a shot to be the Cleveland Browns’ right tackle this year?
Maybe I am thinking way too much about all this. The Browns – most notably Pat Shurmur – have stated time and again that they like Pinkston as offensive guard. The Browns’ actions backed this up when they cut ties with Eric Steinbach. That being said, the door isn’t closed on Steinbach returning for less money than he was scheduled to make. Heading into the draft where the Browns want everyone to think that right tackle is a major position of need, why would they tip their hand that a former left tackle from Pittsburgh was poised to make the move to right tackle in the off-season?
Back to LeCharles Bentley. He is the one working with Pinkston and he has also been one of the ones who has been most vocal that you can’t just take a guy like Matt Kalil and push him from the left side to the right side. According to Bentley, the switch from left side to right side takes more work than that. When Bentley says that I believe him. Why wouldn’t I? He took Alex Boone from NFL pretender to the point that the 49ers extended him until the end of the 2014 season with a deal that gave him a $1.7 million signing bonus and decent annual salaries of $540k, $950k, and $1.2 million. That’s a pretty amazing turnaround for a guy who went undrafted and struggled with alcohol abuse. Even in his truthfulness though, is Bentley tipping his hand that maybe he is grooming the next right tackle for the Browns?
Imagine what Bentley and Pinkston could be accomplishing this off-season. Maybe just maybe they are grooming the next starting right tackle for the Cleveland Browns. We are talking about a guy who is 6’4″ and over 300 pounds. We are also talking about a guy who played right tackle for a season at Pitt before playing two more seasons as a left tackle.
Cleveland media keeps sniffing around it and the Browns keep denying any switch is in the plans. As I said, heading into the draft, I can hardly blame them for denying it. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Pinkston ended up working at the right tackle spot in training camp this year. Based on the results of other guys who have bought into the LeCharles Bentley school I would be lying if I said I wasn’t kind of excited by the prospect assuming my conspiracy theory turns out to be true.