Jadeveon Clowney has always been something of a physical wonder. Even if his career hasn’t quite lived up to his status as a first overall pick, it’s rare that he’s been in a situation in which he wasn’t clearly the most gifted athlete on the field.
Now a member of the Cleveland Browns, though, he sees in Myles Garrett a physical equal. Like Clowney, a former first overall draft pick, Garrett has in many respects had the career that it was assumed the former would have. The team is hoping that pairing them together will bring out the best in both.
“It’s funny I haven’t run into many guys like that in the National Football League yet. It took me eight years to get here to find another one like that, on defense, anyways”, Clowney said last week, via Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. “But it’s great. Knowing what type of guy I’m looking at, I know he’s going to ball and do his thing”.
Outside of a suspension, Garrett has been everything the Browns thought he would be when they drafted him in 2017. He has recorded 42.5 sacks in 51 career games with 152 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 83 quarterback hits, 10 forced fumbles, and three recoveries.
He is also a two-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro. Garrett easily earns a Pro Bowl three years in a row had the NFL not suspended him for the final six games of the 2019 season after striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with a helmet. He had 10 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in 10 games.
As for Clowney, now going into his eighth season, in many respects he’s still trying to put together his first complete season. Injuries have been a major obstacle, but he also has just three sacks over the past two seasons, and has zero seasons in which he has had at least 10 or more.
“I was talking to him during that time, I met his Mom so I kinda got a feel of him”, Clowney said of his new teammate. “It’s like I kind of know him a little bit, so when I got to talk to him it was like we just were cool automatic. It wasn’t any kind of crazy relationship that we were just building, it’s like, ‘let’s get this thing going’”.
While Garrett has been a mainstay for the Browns, they have had some difficulty finding a consistent pass rusher opposite him. Olivier Vernon had some success, but ultimately an injury sidelined him. He is no longer on the team.
Clowney is still just 28, but he’s also coming back from a knee injury. The Browns, and Clowney, though, seem confident that he will be running at 100 percent when it matters. And for the first time in his career, he will have an elite pass rusher to draw the attention away from him.