Warren Sapp doesn’t believe that Myles Garrett should be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — but is he actually right?
The general consensus is that once the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off the Cleveland Browns will select Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett first overall. This isn’t a smart move, however, and finally someone in the NFL world has spoken up and said as much.
Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp knows what it takes to be a great player. He put together an outstanding career during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders. Now that he’s on the outside looking in, he simply doesn’t see why Garrett sets himself far and away as the best player.
“I don’t see it from this kid,” Sapp said Sunday about Garrett. “I see the splash plays; everybody gets those. Where’s the game he took over? Where? Any defensive lineman who’s the No. 1 pick, you turn up and you say, ‘There it is!’ This kid, no, I don’t. I’m a pretty plain and frank guy, and I watch the tape and he disappears. I watch the tape, and he absolutely disappears.”
Sapp is right that Garrett isn’t a No. 1 pick, especially for the Browns and especially in this particular draft. With the Browns desperation at quarterback and them also owning the 12th overall pick, taking Garrett would be a devastatingly huge blunder.
While Sapp says Garrett disappears, the real problem is that this class is too stacked with pass rushers to act as if there’s only one guy that can help fix your defense. The drop off from Garrett to the next few defensive ends isn’t that great. Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen and even Michigan’s Taco Charlton all could offer production that could rival Garrett. Plus, some of them may be available when Cleveland in on the board at No. 12.
What may not be available is a franchise quarterback. Cleveland will never fully compete until they fill that gaping hole, no matter how good their defense is — just ask the Houston Texans.
Faced with a similar situation in 2014 the Texans desperately needed a quarterback. Instead they selected South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney first overall who like Garrett was an athletic freak and believed to be far and away the best talent in the draft. To date, Clowney has had more surgeries than successful seasons and has 10.5 sacks in three seasons. Houston still has no quarterback and, despite being one of the best defensive teams in the league, they are never a threat in the playoffs because of it.
So once the draft kicks off, Cleveland needs to do the right thing and avoid the splashy name everyone is expecting. The risk of other teams moving up and taking the small amount of starting caliber players is simply too great for them to take.