NFL draft profile: No. 1 — Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett, elite skills and athletic traits

Shutdown Corner

Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett
6-foot-5, 272 pounds

Key stat: Led the nation in sacks over a three-year period from 2014 to 2016 with 32.5.

The skinny: Mother and sister were track stars, and Garrett’s brother, Sean Williams, was a standout basketball player at Boston College and a first-round pick (17th overall) by the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Garrett was a Parade All-American selection coming out of Texas prep school and one of the most coveted recruits in the country. Stepped in immediately as a freshman for the Aggies in 2014 and broke Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC freshman mark with 11.5 sacks in 12 games (eight starts), earning team Defensive MVP award and being named Freshman All-American and second-team All-SEC.

Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett has the chance to be another Julius Peppers-type defender. (AP)
Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett has the chance to be another Julius Peppers-type defender. (AP)

Garrett led the SEC in sacks in 2015 with 12 despite switching roles slightly in coordinator John Chavis’ new defense. Lombardi and Hendricks Award finalist and second in FBS in sack production that season. Prior to the Nevada game, Garrett had his wisdom teeth pulled — and had 3.5 sacks. In 2016, Garrett was slowed up by a left high ankle sprain he suffered against Arkansas, missing the following two games (South Carolina and New Mexico State) and clearly being less than full strength against Tennessee and Mississippi State. Broke out with dominant game against Texas-San Antonio (eight tackles, 4.5 sacks, batted pass, forced fumble) that signaled his return to health.

Garrett declared for the 2017 NFL draft following his junior season. He opted out of the shuttle drills at the NFL scouting combine because of a tight hamstring, but that was after he put on a show in the other events in which he was tested. Garrett turns 22 during Week 17 of the upcoming NFL season.

Best-suited destination: Any team in the NFL would become better with him on its defense. He can play rush end or stand-up outside linebacker. There doesn’t appear to be a scenario — barring a dramatic, unforeseen trade — of him landing anywhere but with the Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers, owners of the first two picks in the NFL draft.

Upside: Has a full bag of tricks as a pass rusher. Can go around people, dip underneath or use a potent bull rush (and a sneaky good speed-bull rush) to get on top of quarterbacks in a hurry. Superb burst and explosion off the snap. Great balance and bend around the edge. Moves like a man 30 pounds lighter than he is. Can play in the 270s without losing any speed or agility. Vertical and broad jumps, bench press and 40-yard dash numbers were all in the elite range for his position. Also posted exceptional 10-yard split time of 1.58 seconds.

Immense dimensions. Long arms (35 1/4 inches) and big hands (10 1/4 inches). Carries his weight well. Sculpted physique and well-developed core. Harnesses his power from his trunk and can deliver a wallop. Has a spin move and nice counters. Has gotten stronger each season and has room to add more. Changes direction extremely well and is aggressive, yet doesn’t overplay his responsibility — stays home well on misdirection plays and recognizes pulling linemen and trap blocks.

Here’s Garrett working over UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott, a mid-round prospect, with great hand work to defeat the double teams attempt to pressure and hit QB Josh Rosen on a near interception in the red zone:

Disruptor — high sack production, 48.5 career tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. Kick blocker, with at least one (two FG attempts, one punt) each year in college. Scheme-diverse player who can stand up, rush from three-point stance, play on either side of the defense and even kick down inside on passing downs. A defensive coordinator’s dream to play with. Played hurt last season and easily could have sat out more games, earning the respect of teammates and NFL scouts. SEC battle-tested against slew of Day 1 and Day 2 OL prospects, routinely faced tandem blocking and teams often chose to run away from Garrett’s side of the field. The type of defender whom college teams sought to scheme toward neutralizing.

Downside: Sixteen of his career sacks came in games against UTSA, Louisiana-Monroe, Nevada, Rice and Lamar. Only 12 sacks in 21 SEC games. Held in check and without a sack in 2015 by 2016 first-round OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss) in his first game back from suspension and last season by possible 2016 first-rounder Cam Robinson (Alabama). Was occasionally handled by tight ends in single-blocking situations (see Alabama game). Still could use work to become great run defender. Too often seems satisfied playing to stalemates.

Took plays off. Motor not always revved up. Even with strong production, Garrett left plays on the field. Some scouts have asked Garrett if he truly loves football and lives and breathes the sport. Toughness was questioned prior to playing through ankle injury, although most of those concerns seem to have been answered. A bit too reliant on his God-given gifts and can continue developing pass-rush arsenal and learning to convert speed to power more consistently. Learning intricacies of game and developing better pass-rush plans could take a year or two.

Scouting hot take: “You can talk about the [lack of sacks against top competition]. You can say he took plays off. And you can pass on him if you want, because we’ll take him. He’s better than Clowney.” — assistant general manager of team picking in the top half of Round 1

Player comp: Julius Peppers

Expected draft range: Top-2 pick

Previous profiles

Nos. 51-100: Here’s who just missed the cut
No. 50: Indiana OG-C Dan Feeney
No. 49: Iowa DB Desmond King
No. 48: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
No. 47: Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt
No. 46. Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams
No. 45. Washington CB Sidney Jones
No. 44. Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
No. 43. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
No. 42. Florida DT Caleb Brantley
No. 41. Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu
No. 40. USC CB-KR Adoree’ Jackson
No. 39. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
No. 38. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
No. 37: Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
No. 36: Florida LB Jarrad Davis
No. 35: Washington S Budda Baker
No. 34: Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon
No. 33: Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
No. 32: Florida CB Quincy Wilson
No. 31: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara
No. 30: Michigan DB-RS Jabrill Peppers
No. 29: Alabama OT Cam Robinson
No. 28: Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer
No. 27: LSU CB Tre’Davious White
No. 26: Missouri DE Charles Harris
No. 25: UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley
No. 24: Michigan DE Taco Charlton
No. 23: Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
No. 22: Utah OT Garett Bolles
No. 21: Western Kentucky OG-C Forrest Lamp
No. 20: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
No. 19: Miami (Fla.) TE David Njoku
No. 18: Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
No. 17: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
No. 16: North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky
No. 15: Washington WR John Ross
No. 14: Clemson WR Mike Williams
No. 13: Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
No. 12: Temple LB Haason Reddick
No. 11: Ohio State CB Gareon Conley
No. 10: Alabama TE O.J. Howard
No. 9: Stanford RB-WR-RS Christian McCaffrey
No. 8: Alabama LB Reuben Foster
No. 7: Ohio State S Malik Hooker
No. 6: Alabama DL Jonathan Allen
No. 5: LSU S Jamal Adams
No. 4: Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore
No. 3: Stanford DL Solomon Thomas
No. 2: LSU RB Leonard Fournette

– – – – – – –

Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

More NFL draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Dan Wetzel: How Roger Goodell saved the NFL draft
Report: Browns have settled on No. 1 overall pick
How NFL prospects Butt and Lamp used names to cash in
Most Hall of Famers are drafted with what pick?

What to Read Next