For the last few seasons, Joe Kaleta was an imposing physical presence that couldn’t find the right fit to earn playing time for the Coastal Carolina football team.
But the Cleveland Browns are hoping that they can find a way to turn the 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive lineman’s physical potential into productivity.
Kaleta, an undrafted free agent, travels Thursday to compete at the Browns’ rookie minicamp this weekend in Berea, Ohio, while looking to show enough to stick around for an extended opportunity with the team.
“Basically I was in Florida after the season training. My agent had me training, it was a good opportunity,” Kaleta said of his offseason approach. “I’ve just been working out in Naples, Fla., with a couple other prospects from all over the country. ... I was in the Gridiron All-Star Game in Texas and then met some scouts, they liked me there with my size and potential. They said if you keep working you might hear something after the draft as a free agent or something. ...
“I’m blessed. Not every day someone gets an opportunity like we’ve got.”
Kaleta, a product of Utica, N.Y., originally joined the Chanticleers in 2012 as a transfer from Washington State. The Chants tried him on both the offensive and defensive lines, but his contributions mostly came in practice for the team. Officially, he saw limited playing time in 11 games.
Size is size, though, and it’s hard to ignore Kaleta’s physical presence.
He said after training in Florida, he was back working out at Coastal Carolina daily with teammate Chad Hamilton, who signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent offensive lineman.
“We just hit it every day the last couple months and I sat down with a couple scouts. [They] would have him in meetings and then heard I was here and they’d bring me in meetings,” Kaleta said. “After the draft, my agent called me and said Cleveland wants to bring you into rookie minicamp.”
Kaleta said he’ll get work on the right side of the offensive line and also might work some with the interior defensive linemen.
“They’re going to try me at a lot of things. It’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “You’ve just got to go out there and give it all you got and catch the right eye. Hopefully I have a good opportunity to stay there. They don’t just bring in anybody so somebody likes me there.
“I’m going in with the same guys, the first round pick through the seventh round pick.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318 or on Twitter @RyanYoungTSN.