BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Myles Garrett knows that even though he was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft he is hardly a finished product.
And he didn’t have that realization after a couple of days of rookie minicamp under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams either.
It was Hall of Famer Bruce Smith that opened his eyes when the 2 watched film together on draft day.
“He said I was slow off the ball,” Garrett said Saturday prior to the second day of practice of rookie minicamp.
“[I] Kind of laughed a little bit,” Garrett said of his reaction to Smith’s assessment. “Most people wouldn’t say that, but he’s one of the greatest if not the greatest pass rusher. If he thinks so and I want to be at his level one day I got to take his advice and run with it.”
Smith noticed it while the 2 watched film from Texas A&M’s game against UCLA that saw Garrett tally a sack and a pair of tackles for loss in the win for the Aggies.
“That’s coming from the very best and he’s just trying to teach me the tricks that I can get of the ball faster and I can do it even better,” Garrett said. “If I learn that and keep on practicing I can perform at a high level.”
Garrett certainly didn’t look slow during the first 2 practices of rookie minicamp, but that was in shorts, jersey and a helmet. While the real test begins on Sept. 10, head coach Hue Jackson is already excited about what he sees.
“Did you see that guy come off the edge that one time today? Holy smokes. Oh my gosh,” Jackson said Saturday.
The consensus top player in the draft class registered 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss in 3 seasons for the Aggies, which is the type of production he hopes to bring to the Browns. That can only happen if he’s quick off the ball, something he continues to work on.
“If you get-off early, you are getting punished so you have to make sure you time it right and go right when you see that stitch move,” Garrett said. “You are looking at the back tip and trying to get your first move on him so you can beat him for that first step and beat him to the midline.”
In 19 seasons with Buffalo and Washington, Smith was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times and named first-team all-pro 8 times while totaling 200 career sacks. Smith also played for Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in Washington and he is expected to come to Cleveland at some point to work with Garrett and other defensive linemen after reaching out to Williams via text when the Browns picked Garrett.
Despite the negative criticism, Garrett appreciates Smith’s council and is taking it to heart as he tried to live up to the Browns’ as well as his own expectations.
“He played leagues above what I am right now,” Garrett said. “If I want to get there I got to soak in all the information and all that greatness.”