May 9, 2014
RENO, Nev. – Offensive lineman Joel Bitonio became Nevada’s second-highest pick in the modern era of the NFL Draft on Friday as the Cleveland Browns selected him with the third pick of the second round, No. 35 overall.
One of the best offensive linemen to play at Nevada, Bitonio was a first-team All-Mountain West selection in 2013 and a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Wolf Pack. He is the 10th Nevada player selected in the last four years and 44th Pack player to ever by drafted in the NFL.
“I am thrilled for Joel Bitonio and his family for being selected with the 35th pick in the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns,” Nevada coach Brian Polian said. “Joel is everything we want a Nevada Wolf Pack football player to be and I have no doubt that he will represent our University in a first-class manner for years to come.
“Having spent a great deal of time in Cleveland and knowing the passion that the community has for the Browns, I don’t think they could have found a better fit for their organization. Joel epitomizes everything that Cleveland and Northern Ohio stand for – humility, work ethic, loyalty and toughness. This a great fit for both Joel and the Browns. Congrats to them both!”
Bitonio is second Nevada player ever picked by Cleveland. The other was James-Michael Johnson, who went two years ago and is now in Kansas City.
Bitonio is first Nevada offensive lineman drafted since Tony Moll went in the fifth round in 2006 to the Green Bay Packers.
Immediately after the selection, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said: "This guy is going to bring a tone-setting mentality.”
A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Bitonio graduated from Long Beach Wilson High School. He redshirted the 2009 season and played every game of the 2010 “Dream Team” season as key reserve on the offensive line. He made his first career start in the 2011 opener at Oregon and went on to start 38 games in a row for the Wolf Pack.
He graduated in December with a degree in economics and was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award. He was a multi-year selection to the academic all-conference team and just last month was named to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society – one of just five players from the Mountain West conference to earn that distinction.
While Nevada has never had a first-round pick in modern era, it now has three second-rounder. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick went No. 36 overall in 2011. Wideout Alex Van Dyke remains the highest draft pick in the modern era at No. 31 overall by the New York Jets in 1996.
Here's Nevada's NFL Draft history:
Year Rd. Pick Player Pos. Team
2014 2 35 Joel Bitonio OL Cleveland Browns
2013 4 105 Duke Williams S Buffalo Bills
2013 6 202 Khalid Wooten CB Tennessee Titans
2012 4 120 James-Michael Johnson LB Cleveland Browns
2012 5 142 Brandon Marshall LB Jacksonville Jaguars
2012 6 184 Isaiah Frey DB Chicago Bears
2012 7 227 Rishard Matthews WR Miami Dolphins
2011 2 36 Colin Kaepernick QB San Francisco 49ers
2011 3 66 Dontay Moch LB Cincinnati Bengals
2011 7 204 Virgil Green TE Denver Broncos
2009 7 243 Marko Mitchell WR Washington Redskins
2007 5 151 Jeff Rowe QB Cincinnati Bengals
2006 5 165 Tony Moll G Green Bay Packers
2004 3 86 Jorge Cordova LB Jacksonville Jaguars
2004 5 149 Maurice Mann WR Cincinnati Bengals
2003 3 71 Nate Burleson WR Minnesota Vikings
1998 4 108 DeShone Myles MLB Seattle Seahawks
1998 6 172 John Dutton QB Miami Dolphins
1998 6 175 James Cannida DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1996 2 31 Alex Van Dyke WR New York Jets
1993 5 117 Forey Duckett CB Cincinnati Bengals
1993 7 196 Brock Marion DB Dallas Cowboys
1991 7 189 Bernard Ellison CB Kansas City Chiefs
1991 9 233 Treamelle Taylor WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1990 12 331 Demetrius Davis TE Los Angeles Raiders
1989 8 196 Charvez Foger RB Dallas Cowboys
1989 9 230 Patrick Egu RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1987 5 135 Henry Rolling LB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1986 3 68 Patrick Hunter DB Seattle Seahawks
1984 2-supp. 45 Derek Kennard G St. Louis Cardinals
1984 1-supp. 27 Tony Zendejas K Washington Redskins
1984 1-supp. 20 Al Williams WR Detroit Lions
1983 3 84 Charles Mann DE Washington Redskins
1981 5 136 Eric Sanders T Atlanta Falcons
1981 10 276 Frank Hawkins RB Oakland Raiders
1978 6 163 Doug Betters DE Miami Dolphins
1952 13 Pat Brady QB New York Giants
1951 16 Dick Afflis OT Green Bay Packers
1949 1 Stan Heath QB Green Bay Packers
1949 8 Dan Orlich DE Green Bay Packers
1947 2 Bill Mackrides QB Philadelphia Eagles
1947 23 Tom Kalmanir HB Pittsburgh Steelers
1946 3 Bob McClure G Boston Yanks
1945 24 Don Talcott T Philadelphia Eagles