Road to the Draft: Nevada OL Joel Bitonio

Road to the Draft: Nevada OL Joel Bitonio
May 4, 2014, 6:30 pm
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30 for No. 29: This is the 26th in a series of looks at 30 prospects the Patriots may consider selecting with the 29th overall pick at the 2014 NFL Draft.

Joel Bitonio
OL, Nevada
6-4, 302 pounds, 10/11/91

A native of San Pedro, Calif. Played every game in college, starting each from sophomore through senior year. First-team All-Mountain West selection after last season.

Barely a down word spoken about him. Father was an MMA fighter who died at 45 years old Brings nastiness and willingness to finish to the field. Also very quick-footed and his football intelligence and adaptability are lauded. Strong and quick-footed.

Low arm-to-height ratio means he may end up having to play inside at guard in the NFL since he won’t have the arm length desirable to punch and hold off defensive ends and outside linebackers who are turning the corner. Can get off-balance against quicker players.

Very Patriot friendly. While the buzz around him may move him up higher than the Patriots probably expected him to go initially, Bitonio has all the desirable attributes the Patriots look for in an offensive lineman. Said former Colts president Bill Polian: “He’s so versatile and he’s so intelligent and in the league they’re looking for low-maintenance guys. They want guys who will come to work every day and be able to take concepts from the classroom out to the practice field and be a low-rep guy. He has every intangible that an NFL team would want, plus he has real ability. I mean, he has real ability.”

Projected as a later-round pick but – given the Patriots penchant for taking players where they like them and damning the evaluations elsewhere – Bitonio seems like a player they could reach for.