PHOENIX — Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett isn’t just the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft, it’s a complete consensus. In over 60 mock drafts surveyed by SB Nation, not one believes the Cleveland Browns would spend the first pick on any other player. But 30 days before draft day, Browns head coach Hue Jackson isn’t ready to commit to Garrett.
“Well I think it’s still a little early,” Jackson said Tuesday at the NFL’s annual league meeting. “[Garrett] is a tremendous player, but I think there are also some guys that are really good. And again, the draft is what? The 27th? I think it’s still too soon to anoint guys right this second, but he’ll definitely be in the discussion, there’s no question about that.”
Garrett, 21, racked up 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss in three seasons with the Aggies, earning All-American honors in 2015 and 2016. He kept his chokehold on the top spot at the NFL Combine, where he dominated with a 41-inch vertical jump and 4.64-second 40-yard dash at 6’5, 272 pounds.
It was a display of the kind of rare traits of a player who could go first overall, and that leaves few, if any, who are also in consideration.
“Everybody is not the No. 1 pick. There’s only maybe one, or two, or three guys who can actually be that,” Jackson said. “When you draft a guy as the No. 1 pick in the National Football League, you want him to be a very dominant player. You want him to be a cornerstone player, you want him to be a generational player. So that’s got to be the focus as we move forward.”
Earlier in March, Browns general manager Sashi Brown told reporters that the team would “responsibly listen” to any trade offers for the No. 1 pick. The team also owns the No. 12 selection and three more picks in the top 65, giving plenty of trade chips that aren’t the first pick.
But that slim possibility that the Browns won’t always own the top selection could be part of the reason Jackson is still hesitant to commit to Garrett.
“There’s going to be a player that I think can be very good for our organization at No. 1,” Jackson said. “I would not like to trade, but if there’s an opportunity to make our team better, I’m sure we’ll discuss anything and everything. I think that’s what you do, but we all know there will be some fine players at No. 1 that can make our football team better.
“I think we’re getting closer to [a decision], but again, the draft is the 27th. I think it’s a little soon to really say it’s this guy or that guy.”
Thirty days before the Browns go on the clock, it may be too early for Jackson to commit to a first pick, but it would still be a titanic upset if it’s any player other than Garrett.