A thing that's been true for months: Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett is expected to be the 2017 NFL draft's No. 1 pick. That was true shortly after the college season ended, and that was solidified when he so dominated the combine, he was compared to just about every NFL edge rusher ever.
Yet on the morning of the first round, there was a touch more drama than we've had in the last few years. When you hear rumors that the Cleveland Browns might pick North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky instead, it's hard to erase them from your mind, because it's the Browns. Taking a QB with 13 college starts over a first-rounder-since-high-school guy is what Cleveland does, right?
So why is Myles Garrett the likely No. 1 draft pick?
Because there's nobody better, and I realize how obvious that sounds. Former NFL DE Stephen White argues Garrett isn't quite good enough for the No. 1 pick, which raises the question of whether anybody in this class is. This is a deep draft with a strong first round, but there aren't exactly reports of teams beating down Cleveland's door to try and trade for Garrett.
Still, the NFL collective mind has been all over Garrett since the beginning. He's the best available No. 1, and since the NFL's wrangled rookie contracts, drafting him a few spots higher than he'd be in another class (if that's even the case) isn't such a big deal.
But what makes Myles Garrett so good?
From Dan Kadar's defensive end rankings, in which the opposite argument is raised:
When you’re talking about the draft’s best player, it can be easy to poke holes. Garrett at times struggles to get off blocks, and he’ll probably never be an ace run stopper at the edge. Sometimes he’ll overrun the play. His best production came against bad competition.
But when you look at the whole, he’s a marvelous talent. A three-year player at Texas A&M, Garrett finished with 145 tackles, 48.5 tackles for loss, 32.5 sacks, and seven forced fumbles. At 6’4, 272 pounds and with 35-inch arms, Garrett has prototypical size. His athleticism has never been more obvious than it was when he ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the combine.
He’s not Von Miller quick, but no one ever will be, and Garrett is close. He possesses that first-step burst you want. How Garrett moves after that first step is what puts him over the top. He builds on speed with more speed. When he wants to mix up his pass rush, instead of bending the edge he employs a nasty spin move. If the Browns are creative, they’ll use him with his hand in the dirt and standing up. Garrett excels at the little things: He gets his hands up to bat down passes and finishes tackles. He rarely came off the field at A&M. He was slowed by a leg injury in 2016 but attempted to play through it.
Garrett is the best player — not just the best edge player — to be in the draft since Jadeveon Clowney in 2014.
Do college fans agree?
I'd say people who've watched Garrett for four years (including as a five-star recruit, ranked behind only Leonard Fournette) are mostly fine with the pick, especially since it'd mean we don't follow the confusing Jared Goff pick with another confusing QB at No. 1.
He won't be remembered as a guy who took over big SEC games (though in 2016, he did have a total of six tackles for loss against Alabama and Auburn, which turned out to be A&M's two best opponents, and had multiple TFLs in six Power 5 games as a sophomore), but as a player who made a handful of almost literally unbelievable plays per game.
My personal favorite Garrett play: That time he got into the backfield so fast, he had to slow down to tip the pass:
Speaking of pretty weird, you should read up on Garrett the human.
NFL fans who like fun are gonna like this dude. He almost chose Ohio State because of its dinosaur studies and has endless dinosaur opinions, writes poetry, studies pass rushers from the 1970s, has plans to improve Cleveland's taco scene, and more. He's a plain-spoken scholar who's never been in noteworthy trouble and always has something interesting to say.