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Myles Garrett Should be the Number One Pick
The NFL Draft season is here, and much of the discussion leading up to it will center around what will happen with the first overall selection, currently held by the Cleveland Browns. Theories abound, mostly due to the fact that the Browns have a lot of needs, the biggest being at quarterback. Naturally, as it’s the most important position on the field, many feel that they should use that number one pick to get their franchise quarterback. It’s not that simple, though.
Drafting a franchise quarterback with the first pick is easier said than done. Just ask the Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff may develop into a star, but he isn’t off to a great start. It’s early in the process, but there’s no clear-cut top passer, and that’s generally a sign that there’s not one worthy of being the top overall selection. The Browns desperately need a quarterback, but that doesn’t automatically mean they should take one at the top.
Deshaun Watson is the quarterback most commonly linked to the Browns and the number one pick. Fresh off of a terrific career at Clemson, and capped by an amazing performance in the National Championship game, he seems to have the talent, leadership abilities, and attitude to be a successful NFL player. On the flip side, he’s not even the unanimous top passer, with Mitch Tribusky listed higher by many. It should be noted that the Browns also have the 12th pick, and could possibly still get one of the big two, or maybe a guy like DeShone Kizer. More importantly, most experts don’t consider any of them the best player in the draft. That, most often, is Myles Garrett.
Beginning when Peyton Manning was first in 1998, there have been 19 drafts. Fourteen of those were quarterbacks, but of the other five, three were pass rushers, so it’s certainly a premium position worthy of being the top pick. As for Garrett himself, he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the class, and should be the pick.
When it comes to the position itself, there’s little doubt that Garrett is at the top. He combines strength, speed, and technique with a plethora of pass rush moves to make himself a dangerous pass rusher capable of changing games. He already has an NFL skill-set, and would contribute right away as a professional.
Garrett’s physical gifts are tremendous, but it’s how he uses them that matters the most. Here, at the 5:50 mark, he puts his strength on display, rushing up the field, then using his left hand to throw the blocker out of the way, so he can get to the quarterback.
Here, at the 9:18 mark, in that same game, he doesn’t allow the blocker to get into position, instead knocking him off balance to going around him for a sack.
Strength isn’t the only part of Garrett’s game though. He uses a spin move and bends around the outside with equal aplomb. He’s also a smart player. Here, at :55, he starts to rush the quarterback, but then sees the running back moving out of the backfield on a screen play. With that taken away, the quarterback has to run it, and winds up losing yardage.
Garrett is a complete player, and possibly the most NFL ready player in the entire draft. He also fills a position of need for the Browns. Thought primarily a defensive end with his hand on the ground, he did rush from a stand-up position at times, and can fill either the rush linebacker spot in a 3-4, or the end spot in a 4-3 defense. Emmanuel Ogbah led the team with six sacks, and will be back, but they don’t have much in the way of a pass rush overall, and were 31st in the league in 2016. As much as they need a quarterback, they need a true pass rushing threat as well.
The most successful NFL teams tend to have quarterbacks that are among the league’s best. The teams that win, and don’t have a great passer, do so because they have an elite defense. That begins with the pass rush. Drafting a quarterback with the top pick is almost tradition at this point, but it’s not always the right call. This year, the Browns should draft Myles Garrett with the first pick. It’s the right thing to do.