Cleveland Browns: Should Myles Garrett’s Maturity Issues Be Problem?

Myles Garrett doesn’t seem to carry a lot of red flags — but he does seem to have some maturity issues, which should bother the Cleveland Browns.

Former Texas A&M star Myles Garrett looks to be a pretty safe pick at the top of the draft. He’s produced some quality game film (when healthy) and he tore up the scouting combine. Some view him as a generational pass-rusher and a safe pick for the Cleveland Browns at No. 1. The Browns, though, don’t seem completely sold on Garrett. And here’s the thing — they shouldn’t be.

Plenty of folks have raised questions about Garrett’s motor and work ethic on the field, one of them being SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland.

Here’s some of what McFarland had to say, via The Big Lead (h/t Nola.com):

I haven’t always seen the athleticism turn into playmaking ability on the football field, nor have I seen the physicality. To me, that’s the one question I have. So, in a day and age where we’re all watching the Combine saying, ‘Hey there he is, he’s the number 1 pick, best player ever,’ I’m just a little hesitant.

The reason this criticism now comes into play is because McFarland was recently a guest on ESPN radio’s Mike and Mike show. Upon learning that McFarland was the guest host, Garrett apparently pulled out of a scheduled interview:

Now, this isn’t necessarily a case of immaturity, but it does potentially show some thin skin from Garrett. This could be a problem for the Browns because — as you may well know — Cleveland fans can be extremely passionate about their sports teams. How is Garrett going to react if he under-performs and begins hearing criticism from the fans?

Where some symptoms of immaturity do crop up is in a recent story Garrett himself recently told. Per Garrett, he “choked out” an LSU tight end after being held in last year’s game.

Here’s some of what Garrett had to say, per Sam Alipour of ESPN.com:

Against LSU my last year, I choked out their tight end two times in a row.

He had it coming. He just kept holding me, so I picked him up, put him on his back and then I grabbed his face mask and kept jamming his helmet into the ground. I said, ‘I’m setting you straight right now. Don’t do illegal holds.’

Was Garrett being illegally held in that LSU game, or was he simply frustrated that he was being beaten by a tight end? That doesn’t necessarily matter. What does matter is that, according to Christopher Dabe of Nola.com, Garrett received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his actions and finished the game with just two tackles.

One thing the Browns don’t need is a player who is going to lose his cool on the playing field when things aren’t going his way, especially with the league’s new rule regarding unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and ejections.

Garrett comes across as a pretty mature guy on the surface. He has interests outside of football, like poetry and paleontology. However, his unwillingness to face criticism in the media or adversity on the playing field suggest that he might be a more volatile player than originally thought. Considering Cleveland has the first overall pick in the entire draft, these are potential issues that should concern the Browns as they figure out which player to take.

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