AT next month’s NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns will pick first overall for the fourth time, assuming there’s not a shocking trade at the top of the draft.
There are a bunch of worthy candidates to be taken with the first pick as this is a remarkably deep class.
Jonathan Allen is a dominant defensive lineman, as is Solomon Thomas. Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and DeShone Kizer are the top quarterbacks in the class, but it’s yet to be determined if they’re deserving of the top pick.
Regardless of how desperate the Browns are for a quarterback, there’s no doubt who should be the first player taken next month. His name is Myles Garrett.
The former Texas A&M defensive end was a standout passrusher for the Aggies the past few years. You probably wouldn’t get that feeling by looking at his numbers in 2016, when he was battling nagging injuries all year long — 8.5 sacks and 33 tackles — but he’s the safest and best player in the 2017 draft. It might not be all that close, either.
Garrett solidified his place as the premier prospect at the NFL Combine, running a blistering 4.64 sec 40-yard dash at 123kg. It was 0.01 seconds faster than DeMarcus Ware, who ran 4.65 at 113kg — 10kg lighter than Garrett.
That wasn’t the only eye-popping number Garrett posted. In the vertical leap, he jumped 104cm, which puts him in the 97th percentile among pass rushers since 1999. It’s the same height Vic Beasley jumped a few years ago, which solidified him as a first-round pick.
Continuing the trend of Garrett’s wildly impressive day, he also recorded 3.25m in the broad jump, which is tied for third best among defensive linemen since 2006.
And his strength? He went out and benched 102kg 33 times — tied for second best among defensive linemen this year.
“Myles Garrett is having one of the most amazing Combines for a defensive lineman I can remember,’’ tweeted Matt Miller of nfldraftscout.com.
“He’s having a monster morning,’’ NFL Network’s Rich Eisen said during the broadcast.
“Garrett basically not giving the Browns a choice at No. 1,’’ tweeted draft expert Dane Brugler of CBS Sports and nfldraftscout.com.
Everyone knew just how talented Garrett was before he showed out in Indianapolis this weekend, but it’s unlikely anyone fully understood just how unique of a talent he is.
“I don’t have a player comparison for what I just saw,” one defensive co-ordinator told The MMQB. “He looked like Wolverine.”
Others compared him to everyone from Julius Peppers, Mario Williams and Jadeveon Clowney, posting similar numbers to all three players.
Does that mean he’s going to have a similar career to any of those guys? It’s certainly possible. Clowney has battled injuries up to this point, but he was dominant in 2016. Williams has been a solid player for a long time, and Peppers is still wreaking havoc in opposing backfields at the age of 37.
No one knows who to compare this kid to, and it’s a testament to just how rare of a talent he is. He can come in from Day 1 and make the Browns’ defence infinitely better. He’ll be a cornerstone defender for the next 10 years, likely putting up double-digit sacks in most of those seasons.
If Joey Bosa can come in and record 10.5 sacks in 12 games as a rookie, there’s no telling what Garrett will be able to do in his first season.