In preparation for the 2017 football season, NFLDraftScout.com will profile the top NFL draft-eligible prospects with a different player profile each day. The series will culminate with the preseason top-20 prospects in August.
|Height: 6-5||Weight: 262||40-yard dash: 4.57||Class: Junior||High School: Martin HS (Arlington, Texas)|
As the reigning Super Bowl MVP, Denver Broncos‘ star Von Miller has set the bar pretty high for Texas A&M pass rushers. If there is a prospect capable of reaching this plateau, it is fellow Aggie Myles Garrett, the top overall prospect on NFLDraftScout.com’s board entering the season.
Because they hail from the same program, Garrett is sure to earn plenty of comparisons to Miller, the No. 2 overall pick back in 2011. And while the Aggies’ current star offers a similar explosive get-off and agility as the Miller — since rewarded with the richest contract ($114.5 million over six years) ever given to an NFL defender — Garrett is considerably bigger and stronger at a rock-solid 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, projecting every bit as well in the NFL as a traditional 4-3 defensive end as he does as a stand-up rush linebacker.
Garrett signed with Texas A&M as the nation’s top prep defensive end prospect two years ago and his production since has justified this lofty ranking. Despite starting only eight of the 12 games he played in his first season at College Station, Garrett was named the team’s Defensive MVP following the year, breaking Jadeveon Clowney‘s SEC freshman record with 11.5 sacks. Unlike some of the other highly regarded pass rushers in recent years (including Clowney and Miller), Garrett proved from the start that he was more than just a threat to quarterbacks, generating 53 tackles, including 14 for loss to go along with his sacks. Garrett earned consensus Freshman All-American honors and was named second-team All-SEC by the media and coaches, as well.
Noticeably stronger at the point of attack as a sophomore, Garrett was even more productive in 2015, leading the SEC with 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles over the regular season to earn consensus All-American honors. This included a terrific all-around game against Alabama‘s Cam Robinson, who enters the 2016 season atop NFLDraftScout.com’s rankings of offensive tackles. Garrett had a sack, two tackles for loss, and a batted down pass (that he nearly intercepted) during his highly anticipated one-on-one matchup with Robinson and also blocked a punt. A week later, Garrett was kept out of the sack column by Mississippi’s Laremy Tunsil but recorded seven tackles on the day, including two for loss, forced a fumble and this time was able to tip a pass to himself for an athletic interception off his own deflection.
Garrett’s success against the best the SEC had to offer last year is a strong indicator of future success in the NFL. Of course, anyone breaking down Garrett’s unique combination of skills already knows that.
The single most important attribute for pass rushers in today’s uptempo NFL is initial burst. Garrett excels in this area, showing the explosive first step to cross the face of would-be blockers on the perimeter and generating remarkable closing speed, which contributed to his knack for forcing the ball out. Garrett’s rare burst was quantified over the summer by Texas A&M’s use of GPS technology, which, according to Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin, tracked Garrett at a remarkable 19-20 miles per hour, times normally associated with wide receivers and defensive backs.
Garrett’s initial speed rush is impressive in its own regard, but it’s the moves he’s created to complement this burst that separates him from most college pass rushers. Unlike most edge rushers of his height, Garrett has a flexible core, which allows him to dip, duck and change directions with remarkable fluidity. The Aggies take full advantage of Garrett’s change of direction skills by occasionally sliding him inside to defensive tackle or running tackle-end stunts, allowing the athletic rusher to loop around and wreak havoc against overmatched guards and centers. Garrett has developed a quick inside spin and has learned to use his hands well, featuring classic rip and swim moves along with a surprisingly effective bull rush. Garrett also shows impressive awareness, timing his leaps to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage and sniffing out trick plays.
While Garrett’s “strength” lies with his length and athleticism, he is considerably more powerful than his somewhat lanky frame suggests. Garrett comes off the ball low and hard, maintaining his pad level throughout the play. He shows impressive functional strength to extend his arms, lock-out and anchor in the running game, as well as the power to drag down ball-carries attempting to run past him.
Like any player, Garrett has some areas in which he can still improve upon. He is almost too quick of his own good, at times, bursting upfield only to leave space behind him for teams to exploit on quick draws and screens. Garrett has shown improved awareness over his career of cut-blocks but some teams (including Alabama) had some success against him in this area and his long legs leave him slightly vulnerable. Garrett is athletic enough to drop into coverage but looks less comfortable the further he gets from the line of scrimmage.
Finding true weaknesses for Garrett is tough duty as he’s a remarkable talent destined for an early pick if he can remain healthy. The NFL team fortunate enough to draft Garrett will have the luxury of using him as a traditional hand-in-the-dirt defensive end or stand-up rusher. He projects as a 10-plus sack a season edge rusher in the NFL and would have almost surely jumped Joey Bosa to be the first non-quarterback selected in 2016, had he been eligible.
One of the most exciting things about Garrett has been his success against future NFL blockers. Scouts won’t have to wait long for just such an opportunity this fall, with Garrett and the Aggies squaring off against UCLA and senior left tackle Conor McDermott (a top-100 prospect in his own right) in Saturday’s opener, only on CBS.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Top NFL Draft Prospects: Aggies boast top overall player in edge rusher Myles Garrett