Myles Garrett was the first-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has already put up over 20 sacks over the course of his first two seasons, including 13 and a half in 2018, just a half-sack more than the Pittsburgh Steelers’ T.J. Watt, also drafted in the first round that year.
Over the course of the offseason, he has told the story that he has done that while pretty much using only two pass-rushing moves. Why? Because that is what his former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, told him that he wants to see from him. These are the two moves you’re best at. They’re the ones you’re going to use.
He wasn’t thrilled about that, but he listened to his coach. Now he’s excited about being able to expand his repertoire under Steve Wilks, saying that he believes he left sacks on the field in 2018 directly because his pass-rushing repertoire was artificially limited.
“He’s seen what I can do with just those limited amount of moves as he pointed out to me. So I think I’ll be able to surprise him this year”, he said in speaking with Wilks this offseason about his plans for the Pro Bowl edge defender.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns brought in a new guy to pair up with him on the other side. Sending Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler to the New York Giants, they got back veteran edge defender Olivier Vernon, who will replace Emmanuel Ogbah, a former high draft pick who did not live up to expectations.
“He’s been in this league for a while now, he’s played with some of the best, so he’s picked up a couple things along the way, so I’m hoping that he’ll be willing to share some knowledge”, Garrett said about getting the opportunity to pick Vernon’s brain about the art of getting after the quarterback.
“He’s probably the most relaxed person I’ve ever met besides me”, he added of his new teammate’s personality. “He doesn’t show any emotion, he’ll come off the edge, all of a sudden he’ll hit a move on you and it’s just like he wasn’t there. He’s really calm, collected”.
Although he hasn’t put up huge sack numbers—he had 51 in his seven-year career and has only posted double-digit sacks once—Vernon gets after the quarterback a lot and is often among the league leaders in pressures. Despite playing only 11 games last year, for example, he recorded seven sacks, but also 21 quarterback hits.
Garrett posted 29 quarterback hits last season while playing in all 16 games. There is definitely still meat on the bone in terms of his development, both as a pass rusher specifically and as an all-around player, something Vernon is, as he plays the run well too.