THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Approximately 2,300 miles separated Austin Corbett from his hometown of Sparks, Nevada, once he began his professional football career with the Browns last year.
That distance just got a lot shorter.
The Rams' newest addition is now just under 500 miles away following a trade from Cleveland to Los Angeles this week.
"It's been quite the 28-32 hours now at this point," Corbett told Rams team reporter Sarina Morales after practice Wednesday. "It was a long flight out here, but it's good to be back on the West Coast now, so that helps out a lot. Good to see mountains again."
Like LB Kenny Young, Corbett is a young player acquired by the Rams this week who they were very familiar with heading into the 2018 draft, proximity also likely playing a role.
A former walk-on, Corbett became Nevada's starting left tackle in 2014 after redshirting during his freshman season in 2013 and was a team captain by the time he was a redshirt sophomore. He proceeded to start in 49 of 50 games in his college career, landing second-team all-conference honors as a junior, first-team all-conference honors as a senior and eventually on Los Angeles' radar.
When the Browns chose him No. 33 overall last year, he became the first Nevada player drafted since Joel Bitonio in 2014. However, the experience of Bitonio, plus the rest of the interior offensive line starters being firmly entrenched in their roles, left few opportunities for him to show what he could do, even after Cleveland traded one of its starting guards in Kevin Zeitler to the Giants. He's only registered 15 offensive snaps so far.
Run game coordinator Aaron Kromer, who also coaches the offensive line, was sent to visit and conduct a private workout with him at Nevada prior to the draft.
"Coming out of college, Austin, we thought was a good athlete a good college player," Kromer said. "For whatever happened in Cleveland where he hasn’t had the production that you thought, we’re excited about having him. We think he’s a big athletic guy and we’re going to try to wean him into the offense and see where he can fit and see if his athleticism fits us better than it did the Cleveland Browns. We have high hopes for him, but at this point being new and they really don’t use the techniques that we do, so it will take a little bit of time I believe. Hopefully we can get him helping us sooner than later."
Both Kromer and Rams head coach Sean McVay said the starting left guard spot would be filled internally prior to the moving being made, and followed through on their words by giving it to fifth-round pick David Edwards.
That said, an opportunity to carve out a role still exists, as Kromer views him as someone who could play guard or center for L.A.
"I think obviously he’s athletic to play guard, but he bends well enough to play center," Kromer said. "When we worked him out, we had him at center up at the college. He really moved down the line of scrimmage really well, he was athletic to the second level."
In joining the Rams, Corbett also reunites with a former draft classmate in Rams center Brian Allen. The two were at the NFL scouting in Indianapolis last year.
"Combine, all-star games, stuff like that, I've been around him, met him before," Allen said. "He's a good guy, and I'm excited to add him to the room. I think he'll help out."
While he's now closer to home, Corbett won't have time to visit family just yet.
Plans this weekend have slightly changed.
"I don't got any time to waste, you know? I thought I was going into a bye week, but not anymore. I've got to get ready for the Falcons."