One of the best remaining offensive linemen in Cleveland is giving 2015 first-round pick Cam Erving a vote of confidence.
"I think that is one thing is that he is a competitive kid and he wants to come in here and prove that he was a first-round draft pick for a reason," Joel Bitonio said this week, via the team's official site. "I think he set his mind this offseason to come and make those changes and really try and fight and prove himself this year."
With all the conversation surrounding the quarterback position in Cleveland, Erving's development is almost as important -- and is part of a fascinating subplot in regards to the multitude of first-round picks on the roster that have yet to develop. He'll likely replace three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who departed in free agency this offseason, and aid in the re-shifting of a unit that is trying to replace some of the best players the team had.
Erving, like most Year 1 offensive linemen, struggled in his first season. The position is becoming increasingly difficult to project at the next level. Erving was caught in a tug of war between coaching and management that didn't help, either. In his first season, Erving played a little more than 400 snaps and bounced between right and left guard. He gave up five sacks and surrendered 24 hurries.
But if Hue Jackson and the new coaching staff can salvage or coach up some of these players, the daunting rebuild might not be as intense. Having someone to snap the ball to Robert Griffin III -- or whoever ends up at quarterback -- would be a good start.