- Myles Garrett has been at the top of NFL draft boards for months, and has a chance to nail down his spot there with a solid performance at the combine. Though he may have to apologize to Cleveland first.
INDIANAPOLIS — Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett is not a lock to go No. 1 overall at next month’s draft, but he is the clear favorite to land that honor. And he has a two-pronged plan to make it happen.
“Dominate here,” Garrett said during his combine press conference Saturday, “and not make any more crazy videos.”
To make sure that everyone is caught up ... in a video last month, Garrett (jokingly?) pleaded with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett to pull off a major draft-day coup to land that top selection. “I’m speaking to you Jerry, Mr. Garrett, make it happen,” Garrett said. “Dak Prescott is leading our team right now. I need you to take Tony Romo, take a couple picks, give them to Cleveland so you can pick me up. Please. I would love to play in Dallas.”
The Browns still hold that top spot, for the time being. Asked what he’ll tell their staff when he meets with them this week, Garrett said, a smile on his face, “I’m sorry.”
”Me just being who I am, just joking around, lighthearted, I don’t mean to offend anybody,” Garrett said. ”I’ll crack a joke every now and then, but I’ll play for anybody.”
Not to be outdone, the potential QB1 in this year’s quarterback class, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, made a similar tongue-in-cheek plea to the Cowboys as he accepted the Davey O’Brien Award in February.
For what it’s worth, Browns GM Sashi Brown brushed both videos off this week.
“I don’t think you can take some of this stuff too serious,” Brown said. “We’re realistic about where are as a brand and a roster. More importantly, I think these are young men who are eager to play in the NFL. They want to go different places, perhaps, but I think more important is you just can’t take it too seriously ...
“Some of the representatives of the players called to explain some of the comments, and I explained to those guys at the time that we don’t take it too serious. You look forward to having an opportunity to meet them. They’re both high-character young men. Move forward, mange yourself with class and go from there. I think there’s some lessons all around to be learned.”
And that’s enough of that. Neither Garrett’s Cowboys call-out, nor his admission in December that he’d “like not to go anywhere cold” as a pro, will move the needle enough to bump him from the No. 1 spot.
He has been at the top of draft boards for months because of his potential, and he can nail down his position there in the coming weeks.
“Gotta be a game-changer [to go No. 1], gotta be able to turn the tide of the game at any given time,” Garrett said. “Somebody who, when it’s third-and-15, maybe it’s the fourth quarter and we need a stop to get the ball back, they put you in and say you’re the guy. That’s how good you have to be.
“I’ve been in those situations before and I’ve made those plays.”
Garrett remained planted atop the 2017 prospects list despite a disappointing statistical season (33 tackles, 8.5 sacks) that was hindered by an ankle injury.
“I started getting better a couple games into it, and then had somebody crash into me in practice and so it kind of took me downhill again,” Garrett said. ”I wasn’t myself throughout the whole season.”
He’s healthy again now, at least enough to take part in this week’s workouts—the defensive linemen and linebackers will be on the field Sunday. Garrett measured in at 6’ 4” and 272 lbs., then tossed up 33 reps on the bench press.
His athletic-testing times will be of great interest, because he is viewed as such a physical freak, especially for a defensive lineman. As for the occasional criticisms that he doesn’t go full-bore on every snap?
“Really don’t listen to it,” Garrett said. “I know I’m getting after the ball when I can. Sometimes I’m not 100% when I’m out there, but I’m trying to get after the passer, trying to run down the back, do what I can to make a play. Nobody’s 100% every play—eight, nine plays down a drive. Sometimes you do look back on it and say, ’dang, I could have gave more effort there or I loafed a little,’ but you work on those things.”
This is a big week for Garrett, as it is for all 330 players invited to Indianapolis. If he meets expectations in workouts (and if the Browns accept his apology), there won’t be much standing between him and the first pick on April 27.
“I feel like I’m the best player in the draft,” Garrett said. “I feel I’ll prove that [Saturday] and [Sunday].”