Former Pitt offensive lineman Jason Pinkston is a fine prospect, but as a fifth-rounder, probably wasn't expecting to play a lot immediately. As a lineman, he's been a bit under the radar in Cleveland so far. But now he's been thrown into the fire fairly early and is going to be getting a bit more time in the preseason than initially expected.
The reason for that is due to injury. The Cleveland Browns' starting left guard Eric Steinbach left practice on Wednesday and Pinkston was there filling in on the first team.
The injury could keep Steinbach out, giving Pinkston a start in the Browns' preseason game on Friday against the Detroit Lions.
Browns' coach Pat Shurmur thinks Pinkston is doing a good job in camp thus far.Of the former Pitt player, he said:
"He's done some things that you need to see in an offensive lineman, as far as coming off the ball, finishing blocks. He's a real heavy-body, lower-body guy. He's got an anchor. He knows how to play the game. We're pleased with his progress."
And Pinkston talked about adjusting to the NFL game:
"It's gone pretty well considering the lockout, and we didn't have a chance to get in and learn the playbook," he said. "Kind of just picking up the mental things so I can react faster. I was a little slow at first, but I'm picking it up now, recognizing things faster."
All of the league's players are still trying to get used to playing in games with the shortened preseason, but it's exponentially tougher for most of the rookies in an NFL camp for the first time. For Pinkston to be thrust into the starter as an offensive lineman either means that he's doing an incredible job or the Browns are really thin on the line ... or maybe a little of both. Part of it is things are a bit more lenient in the preseason and coaches like to see the rookies, but with a shortened camp, that's less the case this year.
Looks like Pinkston is off to a good start in Cleveland.
And just so I don't discount the good camp that Jabaal Sheard is having, it's sounding like he's going to be a starter for the Browns this season.