The Cleveland Browns appear to have made the right call on selecting Myles Garrett at No. 1 overall. We talk with Gig ‘Em Gazette to learn a bit more about the top pick.
The Cleveland Browns resisted the urge to do anything rash by selecting Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft.
In a year without a dominant quarterback, Garrett emerged early on as the consensus top pick in the draft after finishing his three-year collegiate career averaging s10.3 sacks and 15.7 tackles for loss. He also finished with 31 career sacks, which is the second most among SEC players during the past 10 years.
Despite those numbers, Garrett does not enter the league without his detractors, who are concerned that he did not give a full effort all the time in college. A high-ankle sprain that plagued him during his final season in college did not help, but there are those who believe that Garrett is simply not interested in being the best he can be.
Trust us, Browns fans, you are going to like what you are about to read.
Q: If you don’t like Myles Garrett you point out he “took plays off” in college. If you’re a fan, you point out that he had an ankle injury. Where does the truth lie in all this?
Matthew: I think the evolution of college football plays a significant role in this debate. The Aggie defense was on the field for more plays than all but four teams in college football last season. Analysts that played college football two decades ago didn’t see 85 snaps a game like Garrett did this season. You combine that with an injury and it’s a recipe for a bit of calculated effort.
When Garrett is at full strength and he’s not being asked to play two games worth of snaps, there shouldn’t be any concern that he’ll give anything less than 100 percent effort. I’m not going to argue that Garrett never took plays off, but I will contend with any critiques that call him lazy.
Q: Garrett looks the part of a dominant edge rusher, but does he possess the drive to take his game to the next level?
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Matthew: In an interview with Sam Alipour of ESPN, Garrett talked about his aspirations to win the Defensive Player of the Year and be top 10 in the league in sacks in his career. He puts in the work and has high goals for himself.
Garret has also spoken about his eagerness to go up against Joe Thomas in practice, too, saying that if you want to be the best you have to practice against the best.
Q: Fans are excited about Garrett rushing the passer, but how will he hold up against the run?
Matthew: Garrett’s run defense seemed to be something that critics would turn to when they were looking to find a flaw in his game. He wasn’t the best run defender when he came into college, but he improved year after year.
In his final season he ranked in the top five in the nation in run defense for his position. Garrett is a more polished pass rusher than run defender, but he’s not certainly not one-dimensional.
Q: Is his work as a run defender Garrett’s biggest weakness? Or is it something else?
Matthew: I’d say that’s definitely the part of his game that could use some improvement. Garrett found himself double and triple teamed so many times last season, and there were times that he seemed to absorb the blocks and be content to handle multiple guys rather than fight to get to the quarterback.
Hard to fault a guy for not beating enough double teams, but it stands to reason he might not see as many of those next season either.
Q: What is a realistic expectation for Garrett’s rookie season?
Matthew: I saw a Vegas line that put his sack numbers for his rookie year at over/under 7.5 sacks. Based on last year’s stats that would make him a top 25 or so defender in that metric. Garrett was able to reach that total in a dozen games each year in college, so I don’t think double-digit sack totals would be an unreasonable floor to set.
I think it’s realistic to expect 13 to 15 sacks and a Pro Bowl trip for Garrett next season. Rookie of the Year should be attainable for him as well.
Q: What is one thing that Browns fans may not know about Garrett that they will love?
Matthew: He’s a fantastic ambassador. I could think of few men that better represent Texas A&M better than Myles Garrett. He’s going to bring dignity and pride to your organization from day one.
As for a fun fact, he’s a dinosaur junkie. He hopes to use his NFL money to study paleontology and fund some of his very own digs after his playing days are done.