Myles Garrett has the talent to be a devastating edge rusher for the Browns. For him to do that, Cleveland has to give him significantly more snaps.
When the Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft it was a testament to how they felt about his talent. Unfortunately, the team failed to use the talented pass rusher up to his full ability last season.
Garrett actually played less than 50 percent of the Browns’ defensive snaps last year. Some of that was due to missing the first four games of the year with an injury, but even when he was healthy the team left him on the bench far too often.
We aren’t talking about a team that’s blessed with a plethora of defensive talent. The Browns were drafting No. 1 in 2017 for a reason. They needed help all over the field. Leaving a potential Pro Bowl talent like Garrett on the bench doesn’t make sense.
The good news for Browns fans is that Garrett appears to have taken last year’s light workload as an insult of sorts. He’s used the offseason to get in better shape so he can stay on the field more in 2018. Specifically, Garrett is using his Week 17 game as a template. He played 52 of the team’s 59 snaps against the Steelers.
That’s exactly the sort of workload Hue Jackson needs to hand his talented defensive end on a weekly basis. Garrett is best suited to rush the passer, but he has plenty of size to set the edge against the run as well. He’s not a specialist who should only see the field on passing downs.
Moreover, the talent gap between Garrett and backup Chris Smith is pretty large. The former Bengal only managed to notch three sacks in 16 games last season in Cincinnati. Smith is an adequate backup but he certainly isn’t equipped to be an NFL starter.
If the Browns defense is going to thrive this season, it’s going to need its defensive line to generate a ton of pressure. Garrett is player most capable of wreaking havoc up front for his team. He needs to be a constant presence on the field this season for Jackson.