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Browns select Joe Thomas

Zac Jackson, Staff Writer


The Browns have selected Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas with the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Thomas (6-foot-6, 311) is regarded as a premium left tackle prospect with the unique combination of size, athleticism and smarts required to succeed at the position.

With the Browns, he'll be expected to help improve the team's 30th ranked rush offense and hold down the all-important left tackle spot for years to come.

"When I visited the Browns I felt right at home," Thomas said. "I thought that might be where I land. They showed a lot of interest in me."

Thomas became the first Wisconsin player to win the Outland Trophy as the nation's outstanding lineman last fall. He played as a blocking tight end and backup defensive end as a freshman before taking over at left tackle in 2004 and holding down that spot for three seasons.

He might have entered last year's draft, but he tore his ACL while playing defensive end in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day 2006. He rehabbed rigorously last spring and summer and made it back for last fall's season opener -- which, ironically, was played in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

He's a native of Brookfield, Wis., a Milwaukee suburb, and was also a star shot-putter on the Wisconsin track team.

Thomas did not attend the draft in New York City, deciding instead to fish with his father in Wisconsin -- a draft-day ritual the pair started a few years back. He is expected to arrive in Cleveland this evening.