With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, the Cleveland Browns have a choice to make: Do they take Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick, or do they take yet another quarterback?
“I think in reality it has to be Myles Garrett,” former NFL general manger and current Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “He has so much raw ability. But I have to admit that tapes don’t always match up to the skill set that he brings. You’re hoping that you’ll be able to maximize the upside that he has, and I think that after they take Myles Garrett, then you have to recommend that whichever quarterback they like the most, you probably try to move up from 12 to get that player, whether it’s Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson or a mystery candidate, if you will.”
A mystery candidate, eh? Who might that be?
“Well, you just never know,” said Savage, who worked for the Browns from 2005-08. “They drafted Cody Kessler last year, so he could be somewhat of a bridge quarterback. They could move up from 12, they could move back from 12. I’ll say this: They had Davis Webb from Cal in our game down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He was MVP of the game. I’m not saying he’s a first-rounder, but they could maybe take a shot on him in the second round, use him as a developmental-type candidate. But the problem for the Browns, truly, is that they have the first pick in the draft but there’s clearly not a quarterback to take, and there are some naysayers out there on Myles Garrett. So it’s not totally clean for the Browns. It’s never easy for them. I lived through it for four years. It never seems to be just clear-cut, and they’re in that situation again this year.”
In Garrett, Savage sees immense talent. But he also sees room for improvement.
“I don’t think you can watch him without seeing the ability that’s there,” Savage said. “But as I said, he’s really not a complete player when you talk about defending the run at the point of attack. Will Myles Garrett hang in there and play against the run? As you know, teams are always going to challenge the weakness of your game, and I think the weakness for Myles Garrett is playing against the direct run. Those kinds of athletes, you run right at them rather than away from them. He can chase plays down, he’s great coming off the corner and pursuing from the back side, third-down pass rush – but here’s the problem that Cleveland’s faced over the years. They’ve finished (30th or worse) against the run each of the last three years. So while everybody always focuses on the quarterback, stopping the run is almost as big of an issue for them. If you can’t stop the run, you can never get to third down and rush the passer, and that’s exactly what Garrett’s calling card is.”
Brian Jones wondered if the Browns might draft Garrett and limit him to a pass-rushing role until he gets his feet wet in terms of stopping the run. Savage, though, doesn’t see that happening.
“I would suspect that if they take him 1, he’s going to be out there from day one,” he said. “To me, Garrett does have more upside than any of these quarterbacks, and I think that’s ultimately going to be the deciding factor for them.”