Browns sign Jewish offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz


Offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz, a second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, signed a four-year, $5.17 million contract with the team.

Schwartz, a tackle from the University of California, Berkeley, was selected 37th overall in April’s draft. The Jewish player was among eight draft picks signed by the team on Sunday.

Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said Schwartz displayed solid technique that could quickly catapult him into a full-time player, according to the Cleveland Jewish News.

“He is very sound in his fundamentals,” Shurmur said. “He’s very detailed with his sets, he is good with his hands, he understands what the defense is going to do by the way they are aligned. He’s a very sharp guy.”

Schwartz, whose older brother Geoff is in his fourth season in the NFL, said he had a “pretty decent understanding of what to expect” coming into camp and wanted to focus on improving daily.

“Obviously whatever your weakness is, you kind of want to make that into your strength,” he said. “At the same time you don’t want to let your strengths become your weaknesses. It’s always a nice little balance. So far, we’ve been doing a little bit of everything. Working different techniques in the run game, different techniques in the pass game with our hands, our feet.”

Schwartz also responded to draft pundits’ assertions that he was “NFL ready,” crediting his coaches at the University of California for giving him a strong foundation.

Browns pick Schwartz in NFL draft


The second round of the NFL draft was not 30 minutes old when the phone rang in the Schwartz home on the afternoon of April 27.

The family recognized the Cleveland area code. Mitchell Schwartz, the Cal offensive lineman who was expecting to be drafted, picked up the phone. Then he smiled.

“I’ve never seen such a huge smile,” older brother and current NFL pro Geoff Schwartz said.

With the fifth pick of the second round (37th overall), the Cleveland Browns selected Schwartz.

“The best part was that I didn’t expect to go that high,” Mitchell said on April 29. 

The NFL now has two Jewish offensive linemen, from the same family. There are several pairs of brothers in the league, including offensive linemen Matt and Ryan Kalil, but none are Jews. Matt Kalil was taken fourth by Minnesota and will be Geoff’s new teammate. Geoff previously played with Ryan in Carolina.

Although Geoff’s draft experience was less than stellar — he had to wait until the seventh and final round to be chosen — he was pleased at his brother’s good fortune.

It was fortunate because, as father Lee Schwartz said, once one gets past the obvious first-round choices, “[I]t’s really a crapshoot.”

Before the draft, Mitchell traveled to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Kansas City, and met with team officials. Lee said his son left Atlanta with the impression that if he was still available when the Falcons picked 55th, they would take him. (Atlanta ended up taking another offensive lineman.)

The family knew Cleveland could take him at 37, but they had seen mock drafts that had Mitchell going 58th to the Houston Texans or 63rd to the New York Giants.

Most mock drafts had Matt Kalil going to Minnesota, but Geoff said the addition does not affect his job.

“He plays left tackle; I play right guard,” Geoff said.

So when Mitchell’s name was called, the family whooped it up and hollered and screamed and jumped up and down.

And then came two realizations: First, “The draft was over for us, and we had no reason to watch it,” Geoff said.

Second, the family had planned a celebratory dinner for Saturday, not Friday.

They went out both nights, Mitchell said.