BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Like most young football fans, Myles Garrett grew up watching the great quarterbacks around the NFL light it up on Sunday’s or in prime time.
Now it’s the No. 1 overall pick’s job to light them up.
“You’ve spent most of your life looking up to those guys and watching them play, watching them make big plays, not only in the regular season but in the playoffs and Super Bowls,” Garrett said Tuesday. “But now, idolizing them is over. It’s time to show that you’re in their class and you can play with the big boys.”
Garrett has not disappointed in his first NFL training camp, living up to the hype that comes with being the NFL’s top draft pick.
He’ll finally get his first crack at a quarterback Thursday night in the preseason opener at FirstEnergy Stadium against Drew Brees, who likely will see very limited action, and the New Orleans Saints.
“I don’t think they’ve game-planned for me that much,” Garrett said. “They don’t have much film to go off of, at least not of me now, and they don’t know what I have to offer, so I’m looking forward to sending a message through this first game.”
Browns head coach Hue Jackson is anxious to see Garrett in action.
“Absolutely, I am,” Jackson said laughing. “He is hitting our quarterbacks, that is for sure. He is doing a good job. He is a good player, but he still has some things to fine tune and some things to work at, and he is doing it each and every day.”
Garrett first had to prove himself to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and the rest of the staff and he’s done just that. They made him work with the third- and then second-team defense before listing him with the starters on Monday when the first unofficial depth chart was released by the team.
“It’s an honor,” Garrett said. “He said they was going to make me earn it, and I’m just trying to show that in this preseason and all throughout the season that I’ve earned it and that I’m here to stay.”
His first snaps with the starters in camp didn’t come until last Wednesday when Hall of Famer and NFL all-time sack leader Bruce Smith came to watch Garrett practice. It was his first time going against 10-time pro bowl left tackle Joe Thomas as well.
Garrett was stymied on the first few snaps against Thomas before finally getting by him later in practice for what could’ve been a sack.
The presumed future Hall of Famer has helped Garrett throughout camp, providing him with tricks of the trade from the other side of the line.
“Usually, he’s just trying to give me tips, footwork, how I can decrease the amount of signs I’m giving to tip them off to what I’m going to do next,” Garrett said. “He’s just trying to make me a better player and is giving me these little tips that I can do to change my game.”
Garrett has set high expectations for his rookie season in Cleveland – including the desire to win defensive rookie of the year – as well as for his career which he hopes finishes with defensive player of the year and multiple pro bowls on his resume.