Cleveland Browns fans have known it for a while, but now it's hard for anyone to dispute it — Myles Garrett is better than T.J. Watt. Steelers fans will constantly claim Watt is the superior player and for a while, the league itself acted as if this was the case. But for those who play the game, they know the truth.
The NFLPA voted on players to make the First-Team All-Pro and Watt was noticeably absent. Garrett, on the other hand, was there along with Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Garrett was joined on the list by Joel Bitonio, who tied with Tyler Smith of the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 1 spot at left guard. Dallas had the most players make the list with five being nominated — although Micah Parsons was not one of them. He too deserved to be ahead of Watt but it's hard to argue the selection of Crosby was wrong after he had 90 tackles and 14.5 sacks.
Myles Garrett causes offenses to alter their plans
Garrett, who is already Cleveland's all-time sack leader, finished the season with 42 tackles and 14 sacks. While those numbers are impressive on their own, Garrett impacted the game much more than they show. Opposing teams had to game plan around him and would often double, or even triple-team him. They also resorted to holding whenever they were unable to stop him — and the refs thought that was fine.
His ability to draw attention away has constantly given his teammates one-on-one opportunities. In years past, some have failed to make good on those chances. That wasn't the case in 2023 with Za'Darius Smith recording 5.5 sacks, Alex Wright notching 5.0, and Ogbo Okoronkwo picking up 4.5.
Cleveland was led all year by this defense, which kept them in games even when the offense was struggling. Once Joe Flacco took over and the points started to show up on offense, the Browns took off. Now in the postseason, they know they can take on anyone, and Garrett is the primary reason for that belief.