If there was any doubt that Myles Garrett was the draft's best prospect, there isn't now after the Texas A&M edge rusher put together a combine performance for the ages. Plus, why a QB will probably land in the top five (but not to the 49ers), and Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware gives an answer to remember
INDIANAPOLIS — Ask any NFL talent evaluator entering the combine, and they would’ve told you it would be impossible for the league’s collective opinion of Myles Garrett to get any higher. In a class devoid of a safe QB1, Garrett arrived in Indianapolis as the biggest show in town.
Somehow, he got bigger.
“I don’t have a player comparison for what I just saw. He looked like Wolverine,” says one defensive coordinator. “Assuming the medical is good and he doesn’t tell the Browns he wants to be a Cowboy when they interview him, he’s it.”
Garrett was the runaway star of a combine that saw Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record fall to Washington receiver John Ross. Garrett’s 4.6 forty, at 272 pounds, brought back memories of Jadeveon Clowney, who not long ago was considered a once-in-a-generation talent here. Make that twice in a generation.
As for the coordinator’s Cowboys jab, he’s referring to an offseason video in which Garrett pleaded with Jerry Jones to somehow make him the No. 1 overall selection, despite Hue Jackson’s Browns owning that top pick. To be a fly on the wall when Garrett carries out his pledge to apologize to the Browns for the slight.
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From what I’m hearing in Indianapolis, I’d be genuinely shocked if the 49ers chose a quarterback in the first round, despite various mock drafts around the media landscape sending Mitch Trubisky to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan at No. 2. I don’t think Shanahan wants to go into his first head-coaching job with a daisy-fresh rookie at quarterback—at least, not any one of the daisy-fresh rookies available in 2017.
Here’s how I would predict the Top 5 picks in a world without trades (though I would assume a QB-needy team will find urge to leapfrog the competition in order to secure Trubisky or another passer between now and the draft.
1. Browns: Myles Garrett, DL, Texas A&M
2. 49ers: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
3. Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
4. Jaguars: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
5. Titans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Again, I think we’ll see a team trade up to the top and, ultimately, at least one quarterback chosen in the Top 5, by either the Jets or the Bills.
• THE QUARTERBACKS SPEAK: And, not surprisingly, each met with just about every NFL team. Plus, Leonard Fournette’s testing elicits an “LOL” from a scout, Mitch Trubisky’s official height controversy is settled, and the Eagles and Colts flip a coin for the 14th pick.
• In five years covering the combine, I don’t think I’ve heard a more passionate or more comprehensive answer to a question about those who would doubt the ability of a player. Here’s Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware, who is expected to be a mid-round selection, making his case this week:
Q: How do you respond to those who say you’re not a great athlete, and do you feel you can show them wrong tomorrow?
A: Absolutely. I feel like I have nothing to prove, that I’m the most complete linebacker in this draft. I feel like with my stats and everything I’ve done over the past four years, I’ve had over 350 tackles in the past four years, I had over 130 this year, I’ve been the MVP of three bowl games, including a national championship. I feel like with my leadership and my knowledge of the game and my ability to point out plays and point to where the ball’s going, even before the snap happens, there’s not a linebacker, and there’s no disrespect to other linebackers, there’s obviously a lot of great players in this draft. And I know I’m not perfect. But there’s not a linebacker in this draft and probably drafts before, that you can see on film multiple times pointing, waving like, comer over here, the ball’s going there and it happens. All that being said, you’re not going to draft me because I’m 6-foot? I feel like that’s someone not doing their homework.
And there’s more. You can read Boulware’s full response here.
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