Bitonio Thanks Nevada for Helping Him Reach NFL

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Wolf Pack offensive lineman Joel Bitonio was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.

"It's unbelievable, man. You think you're going to be excited, but once you finally get that phone call and see your name put on that screen? It's unbelievable," Bitonio told KOLO-TV. "I can't even put it into words. I'm just so happy and excited right now."

Bitonio was the third pick in the second round; 35th overall. He says the Browns were coy with him before the draft, never really revealing just how interested in him they really were.

"I met with a lot of teams and visited with a lot of teams. I met with them at the combine and the Senior Bowl,. But even when I got the phone call, I wasn't really sure what they were thinking. But they wanted me to be part of the team, and I was more than happy to join."

He goes to a team that's created a lot of buzz this week, following the selection of former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The fans in Cleveland are excited about what the team is building for the future.

"It's really a great franchise," Bitonio added. "They have some of the greatest fans in the NFL. And just looking at their O-Line, they have a really good O-Line with two Pro-Bowlers. I think they have a lot of talent on that roster, and I'm just excited to be part of it."

He brings some talent with him, as well. Bitonio started 38 consecutive games on the Wolf Pack's offensive line, being named to the All-Conference first team his senior season. He played tackle at Nevada, but could be moved to guard in the NFL.

Bitonio leaves Nevada as one of the best offensive lineman the "Union" has ever seen. He's the 10th Wolf Pack player drafted in the last four years, and the 44th in school history. He's also the second-highest draft pick in the modern era, following Alex Van Dyke, who was picked 31st overall by the Jets back in 1996.

"I want to thank Nevada for giving me the opportunity. I love the University of Nevada," said Bitonio. "Thank you Coach Ault and everybody that's been part of that program, from the coaches to the training staff, to the weight staff to the players. It's unbelievable. They all had a little bit of them drafted tonight as well."

Bitonio leaves for Cleveland on Monday to begin workouts and take part in their rookie mini camp.