Is Myles Garrett a defensive player of the year contender?

Dec 3, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) looks on during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As the Browns edge closer to the start of the 2019 campaign, a lot rests on the shoulders of former first overall pick Myles Garrett. 

After struggling with injury in his rookie, Garrett emerged as a Pro-Bowler for the emerging Browns, racking up 13.5 sacks. As he enters his third year Garrett’s ceiling is sky-high. The question is how much can Garrett progress in 2019? 

Realistically speaking a 15+ sack season doesn’t seem out of the question especially considering the fact the Browns defensive line is improved from last season. The additions of Sheldon Richardson and Oliver Vernon should provide Garrett with more opportunity to get to the quarterback. 

Garrett is recognised as one of the game’s best edge rushers, but is not yet spoken of in the same vein as Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack and even Von Miller. Although Garrett is not in that category yet, that could easily be his ceiling. 

A first Pro-Bowl appearance was a great foundation for Garrett but his ambition doesn’t fail to cease. The former no.1 overall pick has the potential to become a perennial All-Pro selection and has the chance to register a rare 20 sack season. In all likelihood, Garrett will have to produce something similar to that to rival Donald, Mack and Miller. 

Garrett was ranked as the 49th best player in the NFL top 100 which proved to be controversial, seemingly adds extra motivation according to teammate Christian Kirksey. 

“He’s a guy that can learn fast. He’s physically fast. Strong. I think he was just what, 49 in the Top 100? Which kind of pissed him off. But he’s definitely working and he’s going to get everything that he wants.”

An interesting stat is that the former Texas A&M alum actually amassed more sacks in his first two years than both Donald and Mack who racked up 20 and 19 sacks respectively in comparison to 20.5 for Garrett in five fewer games. 

The question is can Garrett become a defensive player of the year candidate? That is certainly the goal as he told

“As the best defensive player in the league — that is the goal,” Garrett said Thursday when asked how he wants the NFL to view him. “That is the only way to stamp your name in the history books. If you are the best defensive player, you have to win Defensive Player of the Year. That is always the goal. If I don’t win that, it is about being a team player and taking my team to the Super Bowl.”

Garrett has all the attributes to become the finest defensive player in the game. Myles’ pure strength, length are extraordinary, as is his blindingly fast get-off and his ability to beat his man with either sheer power or speed. 

Much of it will likely depend on the success of the Browns in 2019. Seven of the past eight winners of the defensive player of the year award have been on playoff teams. In all likelihood the Browns will have to make the postseason for Garrett to stand a chance. 

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