BEREA, Ohio--It's official.
After zeroing in on Texas A & M pass rusher Myles Garrett weeks ago, Sashi Brown turned in his name on Thursday night. The 6-5, 270 pound Garrett was the consensus top player in the 2017 NFL Draft by most draft experts. The Browns took almost their entire allotted 10 minutes to field trades, but nothing changed.
Garrett was excited when he received the call from Sashi Brown.
"(Sashi) asked if it was me, and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘Congratulations on being a Cleveland Brown," Garrett said. "I knew it was that time. They had not announced it yet, but I knew it was coming. Then he handed the phone to (Head Coach) Hue (Jackson) and he was like, ‘I told you that I wouldn’t leave you hanging. I told you that you were my guy.’ That made my night. Now, I’m just ready to go to work."
Garrett said he was relieved to be the No.1 overall pick.
“It was really just a weight off of my shoulders to finally just get the announcement that what I have been working for is finally came to fruition and I can actually know where I am going, know who I am going up against and know the schedule. Now, it’s time to put in that work so I can be prepared to go against the best.”
In three years with the Aggies, Garrett had 32.5 sacks and 48.5 tackles for loss.
Garrett said that Hue Jackson told him that he was "his guy" during the lead up to the draft.
"Cleveland is getting a smart young player who wants to be the very best," Texas A & M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He will work hard in the film room, the weight room and on the field. He is very coachable and is eager to learn. he took that approach his entire time with the Aggies."
Sumlin said Garrett is worthy of the top pick.
“He is very deserving and worthy of this honor and has earned being the first Aggie to ever be drafted No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. He is an outstanding football player, a terrific teammate and an even better person. We are very proud of Myles.”
Brown talked about Garrett before the Browns made the pick.
“Bright young man, competitive," Brown said. "We spent a lot of time with him, No. 1. We learned a lot about what makes him tick, what motivates him, how he spends his down time, how he spends his time with his teammates. You can learn a lot. He is an enjoyable young man, very bright. Whatever team gets him, particularly if it’s us, would be proud to have him.”
One of the knocks on Garrett was that he is perceived to play soft at times.
“I think that sometimes those concerns are a little bit overstated," Personnel director Andrew Berry said. "The reality is in college football the number of snaps that these defensive linemen have to play on a down-in, down-out basis is usually greater than when they are going to have to play at the professional level. Every prospects is going to have his weaknesses. There is no such thing as a perfect player. Myles has obviously had a very successful career at Texas A&M and been very productive.”
Pro Football Weekly had good things to say about Garrett, as well.
"Has been a dominant player in college football for the past three years," Pro Football Weekly said. "Exceptional athlete. Smooth with great flexibility and bend. strong and explosive. Knows how to use his hands and set up his opponent. Excellent get off, stays low, can dip under opponent and has a great burst to the QB. Good run defender who is quick to find the ball and can hold the point."
Pro Football Focus, one of the most analytical football sites describes Garrett this way: "Garrett has the skills to be an elite pass-rusher at the next level as he can win a variety of ways and there’s still room to improve his power. As a run defender, he may never get to the level of a Von Miller or a Khalil Mack, but he can affect the quarterback and his improvement in the run game should have him playing."
Here are some other one-line takeaways from PFF.
"Can win any way as a pass-rusher...Has the burst to challenge the edge and the power to put offensive tackles on skates...Greatly improved his grade against pull blocks in the run game in 2016, play-by-play grading more than doubled in that area...Quick first step and agility allow him to disrupt in backfield...Changes direction so easily...Played through injury for much of 2016 and was still disruptive in all phases...Room to continue to get stronger, something he’s done throughout college career and if he continues to progress, he’ll be even more dangerous in both phases."
PFF narrowed Garrett's weaknesses down to a couple sentences.
"While much improved against the run, still has to prove it against NFL offensive linemen. May never be a great run defender."
Pro Football Focus has Garrett listed as the No. 1 overall player in this year's draft.
Garrett said at the NFL Combine he thinks he can be a difference maker in the NFL.
“You have to be a game-changer," Garrett said. "You have to be able to turn the tide of a game at any given time. Somebody who, when it’s third-and-15 and 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.” What is it about you that makes you that kind of guy? “I’ve been in those situations before and I’ve made those plays. I feel that in crunch time I’ll make a play, I’ll cause a sack-fumble and I’ll be a game-changer and a playmaker.”
Garrett said he wants to be a part of the turnaround with the Browns, despite a video that surfaced early saying he didn't want to go to the Browns, rather the Cowboys.
"They picked me up because they saw something in me to help turn them around," Garrett said.
“I mean, everybody has their down years and at any time (it) can be turned around," Garrett said. "The Cowboys, they turned around their season in a big way and anybody can do that.”
The Browns think Garrett can be the cornerstone of the Browns defense under Gregg Williams. Arguably, last year's most promising draft choice was Emmanuel Ogbah once he was put back at his more natural position of defensive end. Pairing Garrett with Ogbah at the ends with Danny Shelton, Jamie Meder or Xavier Cooper on the inside could give the Browns a formidable front four for years to come.
The Browns had a very inconsistent pass rush in 2016 with Ogbah leading the team with 5.5 sacks. By putting Garrett on the opposite end, Ogbah will be even better and the Browns should be able to get after the passer on a consistent basis for the first time in many, many years.
Garrett was asked his thoughts on Warren Sapp saying Garrett wasn't worthy of the No. 1 pick.
"It's just more fuel to the fire," Garrett said.
Garrett said he has lofty goals and wants to set the tone immediately with the Browns.
"I want to be the best," Garrett said. "I want to go for the rookie sack record, but I just want to be the best from Day One and that takes hard work from Day One."