Breaking news: Young defensive end will sign with Browns

Breaking news: Young defensive end will sign with Browns

Breaking news: Young defensive end will sign with Browns

One problem with the NFL draft not occurring until five months after the regular college football season ends is critics have 150 days to tear down top draft prospects.

Myles Garrett is universally regarded as the player the Browns should take with the first pick of the draft on April 27, but if they listen to Warren Sapp — who had a Hall of Fame career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders — they’ll steer clear.

“I don’t see it from this kid,” Sapp told Adam Schefter of ESPN on April 23. “I see the splash plays; everybody gets those. Where’s the game he took over? Where? Any defensive lineman who’s the No. 1 pick, you turn up and you say, ‘There it is!’ This kid, no, I don’t.

“I’m a pretty plain and frank guy, and I watch the tape and he disappears. I watch the tape, and he absolutely disappears.”

 Sapp isn’t the first to pronounce Garrett guilty of taking plays off. In fact, Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry dismissed those concerns last week during a pre-draft press conference.

“I think that sometimes those concerns are a little bit overstated,” 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.

“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.”

The best pass rushers in the NFL average less than a sack a game. Von Miller had 13.5 sacks for the Broncos last season. Bruce Smith, the NFL career leader, had 200 sacks in 279 games. Reggie White had 198 sacks in 232 games.

Garrett, 6-foot-5, 262 pounds, had 31 sacks in 34 games in three years at Texas A&M. He totaled 141 tackles and had 47 tackles for lost yardage.

The Browns need players who can pressure the quarterback even if a sack isn’t the result.

“You have to be a game-changer,” Garrett said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “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.”

Opposing quarterbacks had a 101.8 passer rating against the Browns last season. That is a horrible indictment on the Browns defense, considering only five quarterbacks in the league had a passer rating higher than 100. By comparison, the Browns quarterbacks had a passer rating of 77.4.

Garrett is confident he can be the one to kick-start the Browns defensively if they choose him with the first draft pick.

“I feel like I’m a playmaker, so I’m not going to have to worry about that,” Garrett said. “I feel like I’m going to bring some work ethic into practice and into the weight room that will change things around there, and maybe be a voice of leadership that can help swing things.”

Garrett would be the first defensive end taken with the first pick of the draft since the Houston Texans selected Jadeveon Clowney in 2014 if the Browns take Garrett first. Before that you have to go back to 2006 when the Texans took Mario Williams first overall. Before that, Courtney Brown by the Browns in 2000.

Garrett would be the exception, not the rule, if he lives up to the pre-draft hype as a rookie.

Clowney had two uneventful seasons before making the Pro Bowl in 2016 after a 40-tackle, two-sack season. Williams had 47 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a rookie and then exploded for 26 sacks over his next two seasons. Brown played injury-plagued seasons for the Browns, totaling 135 tackles and 17 sacks in 47 games.