It seems like draft season always follows the same general formula. Identify the guy most likely to go #1, build him up as a no-brainer difference maker, but then spend a few days tearing him down to generate controversy/conversation/interest. And this year, the attention is directed at our own beloved Myles Garrett.
Some folks have been fairly consistent in their skepticism of Garrett’s ability. ESPN analyst Booger McFarland has been pretty vocal in questioning Myles’s abilities all season long. McFarland has indicated that he doesn’t think Myles’s tape matches his athletic ability, and has questioned his overall toughness. This all came to a head when Myles refused to appear on ESPN’s Mike and Mike to interview with Booger. Myles shared his side of the story as to why he refused the interview on the Russillo and Kannell show
More recently Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp had some pretty pointed comments regarding Myles being the #1 overall pick:
“I don't see it from this kid," Sapp said Sunday about Garrett. "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."
It seems like a couple of folks have had enough of the Myles critiques and are either coming to his defense, or calling out Sapp. A&M DE Coach Terry Price talked about Myles working through adversity during the season and still giving it his all. He summarized his thoughts by saying:
“I wished people would look at the film. He faced more double- and triple-teams this season than anyone I’ve seen in 20-plus years of college football,” Price says. “Come watch how hard this guy works. Watch him every day. He busts his ass in practice. He works at his craft. He is a low-maintenance, great player.”
Paul Finebaum got in on the action by calling out Warren Sapp’s integrity, and saying that the lazy critiques were over the top and unfounded.
I think anyone saying that Myles is lazy is being pretty dumb. By all reports Myles worked hard in practice, played through injury, and while many of his fellow potential draftees were skipping their bowls to save their health, Myles was out there making plays in the Texas bowl...a stance which, oddly enough, Booger McFarland disagreed with:
Speaking of Myles Garrett if I am him this is my last game , what more could he do in a bowl game but get hurt ? See Jaylen Smith— Booger (@SECbooger) November 25, 2016
Seems strange that Booger would criticize Myles for being soft then question him for playing in his last game, but whatever.
I think there are valid criticisms out there regarding Myles’ ability to be consistently physical, and whether he has the tendency to be a one-trick pony in rushing the QB...despite his improvement against the run this year.
Garrett’s stats weren’t gaudy this year, but I think there’s more to it than that when assessing a DE’s impact. The whole “disruption is production” approach comes in to play here. Opponents had to account for Myles on every play, and even if he wasn’t making the stop, he was pushing the LT in the backfield so that someone else could, or he was routinely forcing the QB out of his timing.
So yeah, I don’t think Myles is immune to criticism—but I do think that some of the vitriol sent his way this week is more talking heads looking to fire off hot taeks than actual analysis regarding his performance or abilities. He’s the best player in this draft bar none.
When asked why the Browns should take him #1 overall Myles had this to say:
“Because I’ll be a difference maker from day one,” Garrett said. “And I’m not gonna be in any trouble. I’m just gonna make plays and bring a good atmosphere to your organization. And I’m gonna start winning and winning now. And because if you don’t draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years. I’ll knock your QB out of the game every time we play you, and I’ll have to kick the hell out of No. 1, whoever it is.”
I kind of believe him. And I definitely believe that the “lazy” themes emerging this week will put a chip on his shoulder thus making him even more motivated in his first year as a pro.