It is also greatly anticipated when the first-overall pick in the draft makes his NFL debut. The Pittsburgh Steelers were this year supposed to be on the receiving end of the regular season debut of Cleveland Browns rookie outside linebacker/defensive end Myles Garrett, but after he suffered a right ankle injury in practice yesterday, there are fears that he could miss some time.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the outlet has been told that “the Browns fear Myles Garrett’s right ankle injury is serious” and that “he’ll undergo an MRI soon”.
An MRI is naturally standard procedure in the cases of such injuries, so the fact that he is scheduled for one—or presumably will have already had one by the time this goes up—should not be taken as a sign in and of itself that the injury is serious.
Head Coach Hue Jackson acknowledged the injury after practice and said that Garrett went on as long as he could on the ankle before he had to leave the field. He added, “we’ll see where we are as we move through the week”.
Cabot writes that her source told her the Browns are bracing for an injury that could potentially keep the rookie out of the lineup for weeks, “possibly four or more”. And that would be a rather unfortunate period of time to be without him.
The Browns will play the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals all within the span of the first four games of the regular season. While one rookie edge rusher might not necessarily be the difference between wins or losses, his absence clearly represents a Cleveland defense playing at less than full capacity, and thus as a disadvantage.
Garrett has already suffered an injury or two over the course of the spring summer prior to this. He suffered a foot sprain back in June that required that he sit for several weeks. He also had a high ankle sprain during his final season in college that affected him through the year and into the spring.
Pro Football Focus graded out Garrett’s 68 snaps during the preseason very favorably, earning a grade of 83, recording a sack, two hits, and four hurries while also showing capability against the run. He certainly did not look like a rookie who was going to require a redshirt season.
In addition to Garrett, the Browns have second-year high draft picks Emmannuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib, as well as third-year Nate Orchard, among their edge defenders, and they also have versatile linebackers such as Jamie Collins and Joe Schobert who can come off the edge.
It should go without saying that the Steelers are very interested to see whether or not he is going to play on Sunday. Even a minor injury might be difficult to recover from in just a few days.